Volunteers from across the UK, who give up countless hours to support sailing for all, have been honoured by the RYA at a special ceremony in London.


A total of 44 volunteers, whose hard work and dedication means hundreds of people get the chance to experience sailing, have had their hard work recognised at the RYA Volunteer Awards.

Held at One Great George Street, Westminster in London, the awards were presented by the president of the RYA, HRH The Princess Royal.

The RYA director of sport development, Alistair Dickson, said the awards were all about celebrating the “hard work and dedication of the many volunteers who put so much in to support our sport.”

“It’s really important we take the time to say thank you. These volunteers are making our sport happen and without them we wouldn’t be getting out on the water and enjoying all the activities which we do today,” he said.

The volunteers were recognised across four categories: the RYA Awards, RYA Community Awards, Francis Elkin Award and the RYA Family Award.

The RYA Awards are presented to outstanding individuals for their commitment and services to boating and to the RYA, at either a regional or national level.

The recipients of the RYA National Awards were Fiona and David Baddeley, Stacey Clark, Owain Franks, Janet Grosvenor and Bob and Sue Ingram.

Frank Catt, Sylvia Mence and Bill O Hara were awarded RYA Regional Awards.

The RYA Community Awards consisting of Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution and Youth categories, were presented to individuals nominated by their sailing clubs and class associations and selected by the RYA Awards Panel for their contributions to sailing at grassroots level.

HRH The Princess Royal presented a total of 23 Lifetime Commitment Awards, nine Outstanding Contribution and two Youth Awards.

Three of these recipients were from South Staffordshire Sailing Club.

The club’s commodore, Neil Hawkins, said he was “pretty amazed” when he found out.

“I’m really quite humbled that my club have nominated me and staggered to find out that I had won,” he said.

“We need volunteers for every single club activity from junior to adult training, safety cover, galley, management committees and even the band. Every single person is needed to keep the club working as well as it does,” stressed the commodore.

Richard Newcombe was presented with the Francis Elkin Award, which is given each year to an individual who’s made a significant contribution to enable people with disabilities to become involved in sailing.

Newcombe has been involved with Exe Sailing Club for 15 years and his vision of using sailing as a therapy to help people to overcome their challenges was described as “inspirational”.

The Family Award is presented to a family group who are deserving of recognition for the impact they’ve made both as individuals and collectively.

This year, it was presented to James Ogg, his son and daughter-in-law Stuart and Tracey and their son Robson for their contribution to Donaghadee Sailing Club.

“Once we got over the shock we were very pleased, it’s a great privilege to be nominated,” said James Ogg.

Nominations for the 2017 RYA Volunteer Awards are now invited.