Posted: Fri, 29 Nov 2019 15:00
Two Leicester sailing volunteers have been presented with prestigious national awards by HRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), in recognition of their exceptional generosity and commitment to the sport at grassroots level.
Syston Sailing Club's Jez Lewis and Jill Magee, from the John Merricks Lake-based Leicestershire and Rutland Youth Sailing Association (LRYSA), both received an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award, for individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years, at the RYA's annual awards at One George Street, London on Friday 22 November.
Presenting the awards, Her Royal Highness paid tribute to the invaluable contribution and considerable difference all the winners have made to their clubs and associations around the country and in people being able to get out and enjoy being on the water.
Although a non-sailor, Jill has been the backbone of LRYSA, a fully inclusive charity that supports disadvantaged people, for over 20 years. Her official title is Secretary, but she contributes so much more; co-ordinating sessions and regattas for hundreds of sailors, leading communication with sailors and parents and organising the committee. Jill has raised more than £100,000 in the last 10 years to make sailing more accessible for the local community.
Jez, meanwhile, has been an enthusiastic sailor since his teens. He organised and ran the Leicestershire Scout sailing team for 25 years, running 'taster' sessions and RYA courses for thousands of Scouts and staff over the years. He then moved on with great determination to modernise and professionalise Syston SC, where his passion and enthusiasm have placed him at the very heart of the community, teaching and introducing new people to sailing.
Speaking on behalf of the RYA, James Allan, RYA Scotland CEO, said: "Our sport genuinely would not exist if we didn't have the cadre of volunteers across the clubs and organisations, no matter what type of boating it happens to be you're involved in. Without volunteers clubs simply don't happen. Their commitment is so important, it's the bedrock of everything our sport depends on in the UK."
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, including sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, inland waterways and personal watercraft.
The winners, who were from as far afield as County Down to Torquay, were nominated by their clubs and selected by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards or to find out how you can get out on the water in the Midlands visit www.rya.org.uk