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Dedicated volunteers from across the UK had their endeavours recognised by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at the annual RYA Volunteer Awards in London last week.
A total of 53 awards were bestowed upon volunteers from across the UK on Friday 20 November, recognising their exceptional generosity and dedication to boating.
The awards ceremony and luncheon was held at One Great George Street, Westminster, where each award winner was presented with a commemorative medallion and certificate.
The RYA Volunteer Awards are divided into four categories, covering the RYA Awards, RYA Community Awards, Francis Elkin Award and the RYA Family Award.
Mike Evans, Tony Rowe and Richard Solomon were presented with an RYA Award (National) to acknowledge their commitment and services to boating and the RYA at a national level. An RYA Award (Regional) has been presented to Richard Brown, Edwin Buckley and David Shepherd for their work at a regional level.
Mike Evans said: “I think it’s very good to actually make a lot of fuss about people and reward them in some way. You don’t need to give them lots of money or anything like that, but that accolade is always very important.”
Mark Farries was the recipient of this year’s Francis Elkin Award, given to an individual who has made a significant contribution in time, effort and personal endeavour in enabling people with disabilities to become involved in sailing.
The Smith family from Bala Sailing Club in Wales received the RYA Family Award. Philip and Carole Smith, their son Christopher and his wife Laurel, and their daughter Helen and her husband Mark have been rewarded for their commitment and efforts in supporting the club over the past 20 years.
The Community Awards, consisting of Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution and Youth categories, were presented to winners nominated by their sailing clubs and class associations and selected by the RYA Awards Panel for their contributions to grassroots sailing at club level. HRH The Princess Royal presented a total of 26 Lifetime Commitment Awards, 15 Outstanding Contribution Awards and four Youth Awards.
The four Youth Awards were awarded to Cameron Date, of Belfast Lough Sailability, Hill Head Sailing Club member Abby West, William Baldock from Girton Sailing Club and Tom Rusbridge from the West Sussex Schools & Youth Sailing Association.
Abby said: “I would encourage other young people to volunteer because it’s really fun, you get lots out of it and you get to meet loads of great people. I’m already starting to plan events for next year to build on all we achieved in 2015.”
RYA Sport Development Manager Duncan Truswell explains: “The RYA Volunteer Awards are our opportunity to say thank you on behalf of clubs and associations that affiliate to the RYA to their volunteers, the people that really make a difference to help people get afloat.
“It’s our opportunity to take a bit of time out and say thank you very much for the commitment you guys make to the sport to help people get afloat safely and enjoyably.”
For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards visit http://www.rya.org.uk/go/RYAVolunteerAwards