More than fifty volunteers from across the country were recognised for their exceptional dedication and achievements in boating last week (23 November 2012), when they were presented with an RYA Volunteer Award by HRH The Princess Royal.
The awards were presented to volunteers from as far afield as Cornwall to Argyll in a prestigious awards ceremony held at One Great George Street, London.
'The RYA Volunteer Awards recognise people in our sport who week in, week out and often for a whole lifetime, give up their time to make their organisations successful' explains Stacey Clark, Chairman of the RYA.
'These people are the backbone of our sailing clubs and these awards acknowledge the outstanding contributions, time and effort that these volunteers make to enable others to enjoy sailing and boating'.
The RYA Volunteer Awards were divided into four categories; the RYA Awards, RYA Community Awards, Francis Elkin Award and new for 2012, the RYA Family Award.
The RYA Family Award is presented to a family group who are deserving of recognition for the impact they have made, both as individuals and collectively and was awarded to Richard, Irene and Edward Langford.
The Langford Family are members of Rutland Sailing Club and play an active role within the club, in addition to supporting the work of the RYA at a national level and at international events.
'It was very much a surprise and we are delighted. We’ve obviously all been involved with sailing as a family, which is really nice. I think the award is a fantastic idea as lots of families are in a similar position to us and enjoy the sport, as well as enjoy volunteering in the sport' said Richard.
RYA Awards were presented to Neal Hill, Bob Lowe, Victor Rolfe, David Vass and Michael Wigley recognising their individual commitment and service to boating and the RYA at a regional or national level.
The Community Awards, consisting of Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution and Youth categories, were presented to winners nominated by their sailing clubs and selected by the RYA Awards panel for their contributions to grassroots sailing at club level.
HRH The Princess Royal presented a total of 30 Lifetime Commitment, 11 Outstanding Contribution awards and three Youth awards.
In the Youth category, recognising volunteering carried out by young people, winner Adam Kenney commented: 'I feel very lucky to have been presented with a Youth award for my involvement at Burton Sailing Club. I am currently Vice Commodore and have been for two years now. I have a great team who support me and I support them, it’s fantastic'.
HRH The Princess Royal also presented the Francis Elkin Award to Martyn Collis recognising his work and dedication improving the opportunities for people with disabilities to take part in sailing.
Martyn has always given over and above his responsibilities as a Sailability Regional Organiser to make a difference. He volunteers large amounts of time at weekends, evenings, and during his holidays to accompany Sailability sailors on trips and events.
The RYA took the opportunity to say a special thank you to Gavia Wilkinson-Cox for her work over the past 20 years as Event Director for the Sail for Gold Ball. During this time the fundraising event has raised over half a million pounds for the Olympic and Paralympic Yachting Fund.
All the winners enjoyed a celebratory lunch and were presented with a commemorative medallion and certificate by HRH, The Princess Royal.
Sarah Treseder, RYA Chief Executive concluded: 'The RYA is delighted to present these RYA Volunteer Awards in recognition of the enthusiasm, promotion of our sport and many years’ of dedication that all award winners have provided. They are an inspiration to us all and it is my pleasure to recognise and celebrate their sheer hard work and commitment through these awards.'
To find out more about the RYA Volunteer Awards visit www.rya.org.uk/go/ryavolunteerawards. Nominations for 2013 RYA Volunteer Awards will open on January 14th 2013. by Susie Nation-Grainger