Volunteer Award Honours for Three North Yorkshire Sailors

Posted: Mon, 18 Nov 2019 08:15

Volunteer Award Honours for Three North Yorkshire Sailors

A member of Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club is among three volunteers in the county who will be receiving one of the Royal Yachting Association's most prestigious awards in recognition of their dedication to the sport.

The RYA is boating's national governing body and its Volunteer Awards are considered the 'MBEs' of the sport, honouring people throughout the UK for their outstanding passion and contribution to sailing. They will be presented at a special ceremony by HRH The Princess Royal, President of the RYA, at One Great George Street in London on Friday 22 November.

Among those receiving an award this year are Erica Caswell (pictured) from Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club, Peter Crook from Ellerton Park Scout Water Activity Centre and Tim Wilson from Thornton Steward Sailing Club near Bedale.

Erica Caswell, Training Principal at Yorkshire Dales SC, RYA Volunteer Award for Lifetime Commitment: Erica first started out helping to provide low-cost watersports, sailing and windsurfing opportunities in the early 1980s in North Yorkshire through the Gybe scheme for schools and youth groups, and has been involved with Yorkshire Dales SC since its foundation in 1995, serving as the club's Commodore from 2015-2017. Over the last 12 months Erica has overseen the club successfully gaining RYA Training Centre recognition, RYA OnBoard accreditation for its work with children and young people, and becoming a finalist in the RYA Club of the Year Awards. In addition to leading on Training, Safety and Child Protection, Erica volunteers her time at weekends organising and running sessions and instructing. The provision of beginner, improver and race coaching has seen many of the club's youth sailors progressing to national and international success.

Erica, of Pateley Bridge, was nominated for the award by the club, whose Commodore Richard Paynter said: "Erica has been heavily involved in sail training for over 30 years. Over that time, she has introduced many hundreds of people to the sport and encouraged them to develop and become active and enthusiastic members of the sailing community. Erica is outstanding at teaching sailing to all age groups and levels of ability. She also excels in her organisational skills and is masterful at bringing club members together as volunteers to lead, coach, and generally assist with making the training schemes successful."

Erica said: "I'm very proud of our work at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club and it's just lovely to have been nominated for this award, and to have my efforts recognised. I get a great deal of satisfaction from seeing lots of boats out on the water, with children out sailing and windsurfing and lots of people helping. It is a lot of hard work and organisation but it's great when you see complete beginners progress to become really competent sailors and then stalwart members of the club. To know that we've drawn them in through our training programme and our very open policy of encouraging people to come along and have a go is very rewarding."

Peter Crook, Ellerton Park Scout Water Activity Centre, RYA Volunteer Award for Lifetime Commitment: Peter was nominated for an RYA Volunteer Award by North Yorkshire Scouts, having been involved with the Water Activities Team at the centre for over 30 years. Serving on the committee, he has transformed the sailing from an ad hoc delivery of sessions to achieve recognition as an official RYA Training Centre, and developed the fleet from wooden boats through to modern dinghies. ln addition to helping to run the normal sailing programme, he has been key in organising watersports activities for a number of scouting events, most notably for the Scout European Jamboree in 2005 and the World Jamboree in 2007 in which 500 participants sailed each day. He is an Assessor for the Scout Association Permit Scheme, which trains leaders who are taking young people on adventurous activities, including sailing.

His nomination noted that Peter is a family man with a job which involves a lot of travelling, yet he still manages to find the time to dedicate to sailing activities, ensuring that all resources, human and physical, are in place. Peter, of Harrogate, said: "I find volunteering rewarding because of the benefits young people get from taking part in our activities. I enjoy seeing them develop their skills and confidence."

Tim Wilson, of Thornton Steward Sailing Club near Bedale, RYA Volunteer Award for Outstanding Contribution: Tim was nominated by the club for his pivotal role in encouraging others to participate in sailing. The retired banker from Darlington has been a committee member and Commodore, and as an Assistant Instructor supports junior sailors and pupils from two schools who sail regularly at the club through its RYA OnBoard programme to inspire the next generation.

In its nomination the club said: "Providing invaluable support and enabling many more children to take part, he takes great joy in seeing a bunch of youngsters enjoying themselves on the water. He leads by doing and example rather than just talking about it. He is always there when it comes to working days, open days and regattas, and also for special projects. Unfailingly welcoming and encouraging, never too busy to be friendly and always ready to help, Tim is one of the people who have changed Thornton Steward SC from being just a lake with boats into a club."

Tim, aged 77, learnt to sail in 2001 and joined the club about 14 years ago. He said: "I just thoroughly enjoy sailing and I can't understand why everybody doesn't do it! I can't say that I really started volunteering, I just did things that I thought were a good idea, and when I see the children having fun and becoming more confident with their sailing, that makes it all worthwhile. I've got so much out of it myself, just seeing the children make progress and knowing I had something to do with getting them on the water, I'd recommend volunteering to anyone!"

RYA Chief Executive Sarah Treseder said those honoured in this year's awards were inspiring generations and creating a lasting legacy for the sport, adding: "The generosity and dedication of this year's RYA Volunteer Award winners is simply astounding."

To discover more about your local sailing club and how you can get started in sailing go to www.rya.org.uk/go/StartBoating

Tags: Awards, News, Sailing, Volunteering