Credit: Yarmouth Sailing Club

Three volunteers on the Isle of Wight are among 47 to be recognised for their exceptional dedication and achievements in boating, by her Royal Highness Princess Royal, at a ceremony in London.

The RYA Volunteer Awards ceremony on Friday (22 November) 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, motor cruising, inland waterways and personal watercraft.

Gail Willow from Cowes and Chris Wilkinson from Brading, travelled to London to receive their awards from the Princess, while Mary Lord, from Yarmouth, received hers in Yarmouth.

Mary has been a member of Yarmouth Sailing Club for over 42 years and is now a Trustee. She ran a sailing week for the children’s Optimist dinghy class for over ten years. The club says, her volunteering has helped to bring the fun and enjoyment of dinghy sailing to many.

Mary said,

“I am so pleased that Yarmouth SC has appreciated my enjoyable work.”

Mary Lord, from Yarmouth

Chris Wilkinson has been involved with both cadet training and various club committees at Brading Haven Yacht Club since the 1980s, also serving with the International Optimist Class Association (UK) and acting as Chairman of the British Europe Class Association. He helped the club achieve RYA Champion Club while he was Commodore in 2010.

Chris said,

“The event has been a very special day.  It was a great honour to meet HRH The Princess Royal and talk to so many inspired, like-minded people. I thank all who proposed and voted for me. Volunteering is the very essence and future of our sport and clubs”.

Chris Wilkinson from Brading

Gail developed the Sharks and Dolphins programme at the Gurnard Sailing Club introducing children under eight to the water and was delighted with her Award.

Gail said, 

“HRH Princess Royal is a fabulous ambassador for the sport of sailing. There is something magical about volunteering work and I recommend anyone to embrace it, no matter how busy you are. I wish all the children that have joined me for adventures on the sea could have come up onto the stage too!”

Gail Willows from Cowes

Nominations are now open for the 2020 RYA Volunteer Awards.

For more information about the awards go here.