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News - Latest News
7 Nov 2017

Royal appointment for award winning Staunton Harold sailor

OC Harden Mark_sml

HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association, will present a Staunton Harold Sailing Club sailor with one of the RYA’s most prestigious awards this month, in recognition of his exceptional generosity and commitment to the sport.

Mark Harden, from Moira, will receive an RYA Outstanding Contribution Award, for individuals who have made a significant volunteer contribution either over a period of time or a ‘one-off’ effort, at the RYA’s annual awards ceremony at One Great George Street, London on Friday 24 November.

Mark, 56, joined Staunton Harold SC in the ‘90s and held the positions of Commodore, Vice Commodore and Secretary. In this time he helped inspire the club's modernisation and refurbishment, which led to it being crowned RYA Club of the Year in 2014, and he is now driving the club’s powerboat training. In the past two years he has also established the Staunton Harold Sailability Trust to provide more accessible opportunities for all at the club.

Mark said: “Sailing has given me a host of opportunities I wouldn't have had had I not taken up the sport. I’ve travelled to different clubs and taken part in national and open events, I’ve made lots of friends and been able to help others through teaching powerboating. I've had the privilege to be involved with Sailability since I took up the sport and it’s undoubtedly the most satisfying undertaking I've been involved with.

"I volunteer freely so don't expect anything in return, the satisfaction comes from helping out. When I found out I had won this award I was very pleased and proud that people valued my contribution and had nominated me."

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and the Volunteer Awards are considered the ‘MBEs' of the sport, honouring people throughout the UK for their outstanding contributions across all the disciplines the RYA represents, including sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, inland waterways and personal watercraft. Mark was nominated for his award by his clubs and selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.

For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards or to find out how you can get out on the water in the Midlands visit www.rya.org.uk