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Ian Walker presents JMST awards to promising young sailors

by Susie Nation-Granger, RYA 3 Mar 2014 19:13 GMT 2 March 2014
Ian Walker presenting John Merricks Sailing Trust awards at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show © Paul Wyeth / RYA

At the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show yesterday (Sunday 2 March), Ian Walker, skipper of Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing and Trustee of the John Merricks Sailing Trust (JMST), acknowledged the achievement of 13 aspiring young sailors.

Through the RYA OnBoard programme, these youngsters have been donated boats and a board by the JMST after being selected from over 100 applications for showing lots of enthusiasm, talent and commitment to the sport. The JMST are supporting promising young sailors by donating over 50 junior pathway boats and boards over the next five years.

RYA OnBoard Operations Officer Cat Ferguson explains: "This is the first year of a very exciting new partnership with the JMST and we were absolutely delighted to welcome Ian Walker to recognise these ambitious sailors. Many of them are already out competing every weekend and without the use of their very own boat or board, this would not have been possible. One of the youngsters has even named his Topper Atlanta 96 to commemorate John Merricks' silver medal".

Ian, Double Olympic Silver Medallist, who is John Merricks' former sailing partner, commented: "Coming to the Dinghy Show is an emotional time for me as the last time I was here was with Jonny Merricks. I'm very proud to be here with fellow trustees Rod Carr and Derek Clark and to be presenting these certificates to all the JMST OnBoard scheme winners.

"Over the last sixteen years the JMST has awarded funds to young sailors, some of whom have gone on to achieve great success. Many people helped John on his way to achieving success and an Olympic Silver medal and we hope that these young sailors will be encouraged to follow in his footsteps".

Youngsters who have been selected for RYA OnBoard JMST awards are:

  • Morgan Plant, Grafham Water Sailing Club, Cambridgeshire
  • Oliver Mills, Pennine Sailing Club, Leeds
  • Amy Armstrong, County Antrim Yacht Club, Northern Ireland
  • Fintan Burke, Pennine Sailing Club, Leeds
  • Finlay Tulett, Aberdeenshire Sailing Trust, Aberdeenshire
  • Curtis McKay, Hillingdon Outdoor Activity Centre, Buckinghamshire
  • Kieran Jordan, Lee on Solent Sailing Club, Hampshire
  • Kristof Jenkins, Burghfield Sailing Club, Berkshire
  • Jennifer Booth, Pennine Sailing Club, Leeds
  • Noah Sheriff, Bristol Sailing Club (All Aboard School), Bristol
  • Huw Farmer, Llangorse Sailing School, Powys
  • Thomas Backshall Kennedy, Clywedog Sailing Club, Aberystwyth
  • Charlie Bennett, Pugney's Country Park, West Yorkshire
  • Krishan Bhogal, Manor Park Sailing Club, Staffordshire
These sailors will receive exclusive use of their own boat for the next two years. They will then be donated to the sailor's original club or training centre to benefit club training programmes and enable other young sailors to benefit in the future and progress into club, regional and national racing activities.

Special thanks go to Bishop Skinner Marine who have kindly agreed to insure all of the donated boats and boards for the two year period the youngsters will be campaigning.

Run by the RYA, OnBoard is a grass roots programme which introduces sailing and windsurfing to young people aged 8 to 18, through schools, youth groups and training centres.

For more information about how to get involved in sailing visit the RYA's website www.rya.org.uk or the OnBoard website www.ruob.co.uk

The JMST seeks to help young sailors and youth sailing organisations to achieve their goals and was set up in the memory of leading Olympic sailor and 1996 Olympic silver medallist John Merricks. For more information visit www.jmst.org.uk