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Surprise awards for dedicated Ballyholme Yacht Club volunteer

by Emma Blee 29 Aug 10:48 BST
Kate Pounder Sport NI award © Emma Blee

Ballyholme's Kate Pounder is celebrating after she received two prestigious awards recognising her dedication to sailing and boating.

Kate - a dedicated volunteer at Ballyholme Yacht Club - had turned up to help out at the Club when representatives from Sport NI and the RYA surprised her with the two awards.

She received the RYA Volunteer Award in the Youth category and the Sport NI SportMaker Young Coach of the Year Award.

The RYA Young Volunteer of the Year Award is open to all volunteers in the UK across RYA clubs and centres.

Susan McKnight, Chair of RYA Northern Ireland, presented the award. She said: "At RYA Northern Ireland, we are delighted to see Kate presented with two prestigious awards from Sport NI and the RYA.

"Kate has contributed massively to sailing and training at Ballyholme Yacht Club and to sailing and boating across Northern Ireland. She is a dedicated volunteer and has always been on hand to take on extensive work at Ballyholme Yacht Club as a sailing coach, instructor and volunteer.

"Sailing and boating depend on a large commitment from a limited workforce of coaches, officials and volunteers and Kate is a wonderful and inspiring role model for others."

The Sport NI SportMaker Young Coach of the Year Award is for instructors and coaches across all sports, and Kate received the award for her extensive work as a senior dinghy instructor. She managed all sail training and the clubs successful Women on the Water programmes.

Sport NI Chief Executive Antoinette McKeown said: "Engaging and inspiring coaching is at the absolute heart of making sport happen day in, day out. All too often, the vital work of coaches and other members of the sporting workforce goes unnoticed.

"Through the SportMaker Awards, Sport NI is shining a light on these people and projects, and we are delighted to be recognising outstanding coaches like Kate."

Speaking after receiving her awards, Kate said: "I was absolutely delighted and honoured to receive the awards. I have really enjoyed volunteering and found it fun and rewarding at my home club, Ballyholme Yacht Club. Our Club's success is down to an enormous amount of volunteering by its members and I am just one of many.

"I would like to thank RYA and Sport NI for their support and what they offer clubs like mine, to help promote and deliver sailing in a safe and fun way."

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