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Dedicated NI volunteers recognised nationally by RYA

by Emma Blee 19 Oct 2020 19:22 BST

Four inspiring Northern Ireland volunteers have been recognised nationally with awards from the Royal Yachting Association.

Traditionally taking place at an awards ceremony in London, the RYA Volunteer Awards celebrate and say 'thank you' to volunteers who have made an outstanding contribution to the sport.

The volunteers are nominated by their sailing club, class associations and members of the boating community.

The RYA Community Awards are given across three categories: Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution and Youth and are presented to outstanding individuals for their commitment and services to boating at club or grassroots level.

RYA Northern Ireland's Chief Operating Officer, Richard Honeyford, said: "On behalf of RYA Northern Ireland I would like to thank all of our dedicated volunteers, who make our sport the success that it is.

"I am delighted for our four local sailors who have been recognised nationally by the Royal Yachting Association for all their hard work. Devoted to their clubs, these volunteers ensure the smooth running of many aspects of club life and also do so much to benefit the wider local community."

Jackie Patton, Chair of RYA Northern Ireland, commented: "Our volunteers are the bedrock of our sport, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of our clubs and the constant development of our sport. I am delighted that our volunteers have been recognised nationally for their efforts and congratulate them on their fantastic achievements."

Kate Pounder - Ballyholme Yacht Club

Kate Pounder received a Youth Award for going above and beyond in her role as an Instructor at Ballyholme Yacht Club. She has worked her way through the RYA syllabus, gaining her Senior Instructor qualification in 2017, leading to her appointment as Chief Sailing Instructor for her club's 2019 centenary season.

Whether she's assisting with driving RIBS, providing rescue cover, transferring boats across the yard or laying racing marks, Kate consistently gives her time and infectious enthusiasm for the good of the club and its members.

Commenting on her award, Kate said: "When I realised I had won an award I felt completely overjoyed and surprised. For as long as I can remember, I've always enjoyed helping out at my home club and the more I got involved the better I felt about myself and the way others engaged with me. Sailing at Ballyholme is a real community and thrives on people getting actively involved and I wanted to be part of that".

Colin de Fleury - County Antrim Yacht Club

County Antrim Yacht Club's Colin de Fleury received an Outstanding Contribution award for his hard work over the years. A member of the club since 2007, Colin has always been a willing and very experienced volunteer. A Powerboat, Keelboat and Senior Dinghy Instructor and Race Coach, he is always on hand to take on the role of Race Officer, safety boat helm or crew, as well as maintaining dinghies and mentoring Assistant Instructors.

Delivering courses and helping with 'Try Sailing' and other initiatives, Colin is always organised and thorough, a natural leader and inspiring for everyone around him.

Lindsay Nolan - Royal North of Ireland Yacht Club

Lindsay Nolan from Royal North of Ireland has been given an Outstanding Contribution award. Under her leadership, the club has benefitted from a vibrant social programme for all members, raising thousands of pounds for charities. Lindsay looks after the club's Facebook page, is editor of the annual Club Review magazine, contributes to the weekly newsletter and is often chief photographer at events.

As RYA Green Blue Co-Ordinator she has introduced a range of initiatives from installing a water fountain to organising a beach clean.

Paul Prentice - Ballyholme Yacht Club

Paul Prentice has been recognised with a Lifetime Commitment award. He has been a dedicated volunteer at Ballyholme Yacht Club for nearly two decades, as an instructor and a coach.

In his current role as Training Centre Principal, he is devoted to promoting and overseeing adult and youth dinghy and powerboat training. Working with the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation and its Buoyed-Up programme, the Andrew Simpson Foundation and the Department for Education for Northern Ireland, Paul has been key to the club delivering sailing opportunities for disadvantaged young people from schools in the local community.

Paul has been key in developing new links between the club and external organisations, as well as securing funding from innovative sources to deliver initiatives for the club and also the local community.

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