Nick Waters

Staunton pair to get royal seal of approval with sailing volunteer awards

Nick and Poppy to be honoured with RYA volunteer awards 

Our very own Nick Waters and Poppy Penhaul Smith are set to receive the RYA’s most prestigious, volunteer awards, from HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association. They will be presented with the awards at a ceremony on Friday, 16 November.

Nick will receive an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award. This honours individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club for at least 15 years.

Meanwhile Poppy, will collect an RYA Youth Award. The award honours under 25’s who have demonstrated a regular commitment and/or inspirational contribution over-and-above their own participation or achievement within the sport.

How volunteering gives back

Nick WatersNick, who celebrates his 60th birthday later this month, has played a key role in Staunton Harold’s development and growth since joining the club in 1995. He was pivotal in helping the club gain substantial grant awards to expands its facilities and activities. He helped to secure the Club of the an RYA Award for Britain’s best sailing club in 2014. Nick is also an active dinghy instructor and Laser class sailor.

On hearing he’d been honoured Nick said: “I was pleasantly shocked when I heard I had won. I had no idea my name had been put forward! Sailing has bought me many things. Being out on the water, is exhilarating, the perfect way to switch off from the pressures of life. The club camaraderie is thoroughly enjoyable and I’ve made friends I wouldn’t otherwise have met. Plus I find bringing other people into the sport and seeing it inspiring.”

Poppy SmithMeanwhile, Poppy, who is 19 the day after the ceremony, has led her club’s Junior open training for three years. In 2017 she added power boating to her skills set and taught over 15 youngsters to drive powerboats as part of the Honda RYA Youth RIB Challenge. Poppy credits sailing and volunteering with maintaining her physical and mental health as she has Cystic Fibrosis.

Poppy said: “My whole family sail so it’s always been a part of my life. Sailing’s given me friends of all ages, from all different backgrounds and from all over the world. Volunteering has been proven to help improve mental health, which has at times been a struggle due to my Cystic Fibrosis. Teaching sailing has also given me a sense of responsibility, leadership and commitment. It’s an amazing feeling to know how valued my help has been.”

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. The winners were selected by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.

Congratulations to Nick and Poppy!

Find out more about volunteering at the club

To find out more about learning to sail at Staunton Harold please click here or email training@shsc.org.uk . For club members looking to volunteer there are a whole host of opportunities from sailing to social, to marketing, please speak to any of our committee members to find out more.

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