RYA Volunteer Awards 2018

Royal honour as Staunton Harold pair collect sailing volunteer awards

Congratulations to Nick and Poppy!

Staunton’s Nick Waters and Poppy Smith, were amongst 57 people from across the UK who were recognised for their commitment to supporting grassroots sailing at the Royal Yachting Association’s prestigious Volunteer Awards on Friday 16 November. The awards were presented by Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, President of the RYA.

RYA Volunteer Awards 2018Nick received an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award. This recognises individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years.

Meanwhile, Poppy, collected an RYA Youth Award, for individuals under 25 who have demonstrated a regular commitment and/or inspirational contribution over-and-above their own participation or achievement within the sport.

Poppy, who turned 19 the day after the ceremony, has led Staunton’s Junior open dinghy training for three years. In 2017 she took on power boating, teaching over 15 youngsters to drive powerboats as part of the Honda RYA Youth RIB Challenge. She is now using her expertise and exceptional interpersonal skills to become a Senior Instructor. Poppy, who has Cystic Fibrosis, credits sailing and volunteering with maintaining her physical and mental health.

At the ceremony she said: “It was a bit of a shock (to win this award) and I wasn’t expecting it! But it’s really nice to know how valued and how much my club know that I help out and volunteer for them, so it was great news.”

Volunteer awards seen as ‘MBE’s’ of the sport

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and the Volunteer Awards are sometimes considered the ‘MBEs’ of the sport. They are used to honour people throughout the UK for their outstanding contributions across all the disciplines the RYA represent. This includes sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, inland waterways and personal watercraft. The winners were selected by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.

On presenting the awards, Her Royal Highness stressed how the volunteers in sailing clubs and class associations across the country should not underplay the difference they make to what can be achieved. She went on to underline how their commitment makes it more possible for others to enjoy the sport they love themselves.

Alistair Dickson, RYA Director of Sport Development, said: “The RYA Volunteer Awards recognise the outstanding contributions made by volunteers nationwide. The ceremony was a fantastic opportunity to say thank you to the people that go above and beyond, giving that little bit extra to ensure others can enjoy the sport we all love. Volunteers really are the lifeblood of boating and it’s an honour to reward their efforts and give something back.”

Chris Preston, Chairman of the RYA, added: “Our Volunteer Awards are really critical to our sport because if we look at what the RYA does through the clubs throughout the country, we have more than 80,000 volunteers that make this all possible.”

Nominations are now invited for the 2019 RYA Volunteer Awards. For more information visit https://www.rya.org.uk/about-us/rya-awards/Pages/rya-volunteer-awards.aspx.

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

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