Sailors Awarded for their Volunteering Endeavours
Princess Royal Awards Sailors from Tamworth and Shirley Sailing Clubs
ALEX SIMPSON TAMWORTH SAILING CLUB JOHN BIGGS TAMWORTH SAILING CLUB
STEVE PERRING EARLSWOOD LAKE SAILING CLUB
Three sailors had their inspirational volunteer endeavours recognised by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at the annual RYA Volunteer Awards in London on Friday (20 November).
Tamworth Sailing Club’s Alex Simpson, from Hurley near Atherstone and Earlswood Lake Sailing Club’s Steve Perring were honoured with an RYA Lifetime Commitment award by sailing’s national governing body, which recognises individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years.
Meanwhile Tamworth clubmate John Biggs, who lives in Whitestone, near Nuneaton, received an RYA Outstanding Contribution Award, for individuals who have made a significant volunteer contribution, either over a period of time or a ‘one-off’ effort.
A total of 53 awards were bestowed upon volunteers from across the UK, recognising their exceptional generosity and dedication to boating. The awards ceremony and luncheon was held at One Great George Street, where each award winner was presented with a commemorative medallion and certificate.
A member of Tamworth SC for more than 30 years, 84-year-old Alex still sails each week. He is always on hand to meet and greet prospective new members at club open days and his sheer enthusiasm has been cited by many people as the one reason they choose to join the club. He has become ever-present during the club’s training courses for adult and junior members and is known for his extraordinary organisation and communication skills.
John, 64, meanwhile, has been a significant influence at the club over his 12 years, as both Commodore and Chief Instructor. John reinvigorated Tamworth’s training schedule, helping many locals to prosper and become regular sailors, and he is a key member of the team that runs Tamworth’s junior club on Saturday mornings. John still finds time to sit on different club committees and contribute to the club’s working parties.
Steve has been an Earlswood Lake stalwart for over 20 years, playing a key role in club development, including the acquisition of club land and the replacement of aging infrastructure, while holding numerous positions on the club’s committees. His dedication extends to his time as a Powerboat Instructor and Race Coach, helping many others in the safe and efficient use of powerboats and honing the skills of countless club sailors at all levels.
Steve has also provided vital support to the Worcestershire Schools Sailing and Canoeing Association (WSSCA) over 15 years, initially starting through his own son’s involvement but continuing to use his skills to introduce many newcomers to sailing, becoming a popular and important figure at schools' events, helping out with everything from driving the minibus to towing and rigging boats and offering moral support to the young sailors.
Alex John and Steve were nominated for their awards by their respective clubs and selected as winners by the RYA Awards panel.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Sport Development Manager, said: “The RYA Volunteer Awards are our opportunity to say 'thank you’, on behalf of clubs and associations that affiliate to the RYA, to their volunteers, the people that really make a difference to help people get afloat. It’s our opportunity to take a bit of time out to appreciate the commitment these individuals make to the sport in helping people get afloat safely and enjoyably."
For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards visit www.rya.org.uk/go/RYAVolunteerAwards