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SEAS scheme gets national award

by RYA Cymru-Wales 20 Feb 20:51 GMT
Jon Gamon and Conway's SEAS Group - MoreThanSailing © RYA Cymru-Wales

A North Wales sailing centre has received a national award for a scheme which has seen more than 50 disabled sailors regularly involved in the sport through more than 400 sessions.

Jon Gamon and the SEAS (Supporting Enabling Accessible Sailing) Sailability group at the Conway Centre on Anglesey collected the #MoreThanSailing Award at the 2019 RYA Sailability Annual Awards, at the Sailability National Conference and Awards Dinner at Wyboston Lakes.

The conference was the most popular to date, with more than 160 delegates, representing 57 Sailability sites across the UK in attendance. Seven different awards were presented, recognising individuals and organisations whose contribution and achievements have made a real impact.

The #MoreThanSailing Award, recognising a new and innovative project, activity or piece of work that has enabled inactive disabled people to become more active, was presented this year for the first time.

Jon Gamon commented, "It's great to take this award back to North Wales. It means such a lot, it's amazing.

"Setting up the SEAS Sailability group has been a real community effort, there's been lots and lots of people involved and to be able to take this back to the Conway Centre and show everyone, they'll all be really proud.

"Why Sailability? Sailing is one of the few things that levels the playing field, it's the one thing that everyone can do.

"When you get in the boat it doesn't matter what's right or wrong with you, that all goes away and people can compete at the same level."

RYA Sailability Manager, Joff McGill explained, "Congratulations to all of this year's award winners.

"The Sailability Annual Awards recognise the dedication, commitment and contribution of so many, but of course it's way more than that, there are so many other people who have given so much and we're just recognising a few of them.

"SEAS is a story of partnership funders such as the Outdoor Partnership, all the local groups, the volunteers, colleagues at RYA Cymru Wales but Jon Gamon and his drive, determination and very big smile has been at the heart of it.

"An open day this April attracted 57 sailors. Word was out there...but the funding only covered 6 people per session, every other week.

"A call out on Facebook found 17 volunteers, and the sessions were running every other week for around 50 people nearly 400 individual sessions were delivered over the 10 weeks some doing all the sessions, most doing at least three.

"Those local groups now enjoy the beauty of the Menai Straits, the experience of being on the water, and the chance to swap tales of derring do at the BBQ after every session."

RYA Cymru Wales chair and interim CEO Mike Buttterfield added, "This is really great news and reward for a lot of hard work.

"SEAS has been a major part in rebuilding the Sailability provision in North Wales and the success it has had shows the potential. Congratulations to Jon and his team."

To find out more about disabled sailing and RYA Sailability visit rya.org.uk/sailability.

For further details about Welsh sailing and watersports, please go to RYA CYMRU Wales page on website or Facebook page or follow on Twitter @RYACymruWales. You can also keep up to date by following RYA Cymru Wales on Instagram.

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