Five dedicated volunteers from the North East who give their time to help others enjoy sailing will be presented awards by HRH The Princess Royal at a special ceremony in London.
The RYA Volunteer Awards recognise the outstanding contribution of individuals nominated by their sailing clubs or associations in appreciation of their commitment and services to the sport.
This year’s awards will be presented by Princess Anne, president of the RYA, at a ceremony to be held at One Great George Street, Westminster, on Friday 24 November, where recipients will include volunteers from Ulley Sailing Club in South Yorkshire, Green Withens Watersports Centre in West Yorkshire, and Sunderland Yacht Club.
Stephen Butler: RYA Community Award – Lifetime Commitment
Stephen has served in a variety of capacities since joining Ulley SC more than 25 years ago, from House Steward to Commodore, his loyalty to the club and enthusiasm for the sport having made him a vital linchpin in its development and success.
He is the committee’s expert when it comes to interpretation of the Rule Book and Constitution, and has always been a keen advocate for youth sailing through Yorkshire and Humberside Youth Sailing Association and National School Sailing Association events.
The retired steel industry scientist from Rotherham said: “It has been very satisfying and enjoyable to have been part of the team that enables people of all ages from all backgrounds to enjoy dinghy sailing at Ulley, and I am proud to have also played a small part in encouraging youth sailing at national events. In my opinion, you cannot find a better or nicer group of youngsters than those who actively participate in dinghy sailing.”
David Rowlands: RYA Community Award – Lifetime Commitment
David, who is also from Ulley SC, has been involved with the International GP14 Class Association since 1976, including as South Wales Area Representative, Vice President, Treasurer and President, and is currently chairman of the Technical and Rules Committee.
He was involved in setting up and overseeing the development group that helped to create the modern self-draining cockpit, the success of the Series Two boat and the continuing popularity of the GP14.
Having helped gain World Sailing recognition for the class, David, aged 70, is an Honorary Life Member of the association. He has also served on both the former RYA regional committee and the North East Regional Volunteer Team, and has provided expert race officer services to several classes.
The retired steel industry metallurgist from Sheffield said: “With my background in working on the technical side of the steel industry, being part of the association has kept me involved with sailing and it’s been something where I have the skills to make a contribution.”
David Staniforth: RYA Award – Regional
David, a member of Ulley SC since 1988, has served on the RYA Regional Committee as chairman and in a number of key committee roles at the club, including Commodore and Treasurer.
He was part of the steering group which secured a Sport Englor many years, including Commodore for two, and also enjoys introducing youngsters to sailing and racing at the club and through Yorkshire and Humberside Youth Sailing Association and NSSA.
Explaining his enthusiasm, the retired technology teacher from Rotherham recalls how when one family visited Ulley, the dad noticed his 11-year-old son having an informed discussion with a 65-year-old and a 42-year-old about a right-of-way incident on the water: “I can’t think of another sport where you get this mix of generations all working and Inspired Facilities grant, and recently helped to install a new disabled-access pontoon. David has been the North East Area Representative of the Enterprise Class Association fon a level and that also includes boys and girls. I think it’s a great sport.”
Susan Haigh: RYA Community Award – Lifetime Commitment
Susan volunteered to take on the roles of Booking Secretary and Treasurer of Huddersfield Scout Sailing in 1972 and today at Green Withens Watersports Centre for West Yorkshire Scouts, still looks after the bookings and finances.
She is also an RYA Dinghy Senior Instructor, RYA First Aid Instructor and Sailability Disability Awareness Trainer, and co-ordinator of the Green Withens OnBoard club for junior sailors.
The retired teacher from Huddersfield, who is a Guide Leader for the town’s Golcar Guides, is passionate about getting all ages on the water, and seeing children learn not just sailing but also developing life skills such as team work and confidence.
She said: “It’s rewarding to see kids come through and improve and move on to other things – it’s expanding their Scouting and Guiding and they get a lot out of their sailing.”
William “Billy” Maughan: RYA Community Award – Youth
William, aged 23, has been the driving force behind the resurgence of dinghy sailing at Sunderland YC. He regularly wins events in high-performance dinghies, and began helping with club training in his late teens, becoming a Dinghy Instructor and helping young sailors into racing.
He went on to join the club’s Sailing Committee and encouraged people to return to the club by contacting them personally, organising a successful frostbite racing series and working hard to increase club activity through regattas, coaching and accompanying young sailors to traveller series events.
Having grown up living in Seaburn and sailing at Sunderland YC, William wanted to develop and expand dinghy sailing at the club to help make it vibrant again for the future. “When I was young I just got so much out of sailing at Sunderland Yacht Club,” he said. “I’ve managed to teach quite a lot of the younger members which I really enjoy and we’ve made it a bit more of a successful place for dinghy sailing. It’s been great to be involved with it all.”
More than 50 volunteers from across the country will be honoured in this year’s RYA Volunteer Awards. Royal Yachting Association chief executive Sarah Treseder said volunteers were “creating a lasting legacy” without which the sport would be immeasurably poorer: “The generosity and dedication of this year’s RYA Volunteer Award winners is simply astounding.”