Sailing club founder member honoured for 52 years' service - The Rugby Observer

Sailing club founder member honoured for 52 years' service

Rugby Editorial 26th Dec, 2021   0

A DEDICATED volunteer who was a founder member of the 52-year-old Draycote Water Sailing Club (SC) has been presented with a prestigious award by HRH The Princess Royal, president of the Royal Yachting Association (RYA).

Harry Sayers, 85, received a Lifetime Commitment Award at the annual RYA Volunteer Awards ceremony in Westminster.

Harry, a retired Courtaulds engineer and manager from Coventry, first started sailing in the RAF after being called up for National Service and has been involved with the sport ever since.

He became a founder member of Draycote Water SC in 1969, and was a fleet captain and served on the committee in the 1970s. Harry then served two terms as Commodore in the 1980s and 90s, after which he was elected President, a post he still holds more than 20 years later.

Harry said: “I didn’t know I’d been nominated for an award so it was a lovely surprise. The day itself in London was fantastic, it’s what memories are made of.

“We joined Draycote Water SC as a family when the plans were first announced at Rugby’s Benn Hall, because it was clearly going to be a great club and we’ve enjoyed sailing all our lives.

Harry Sayers at Draycote Water Sailing Club, of which he is a founder member.

“I served on the committee for the love of sailing and the club. We’re a team at the club but we’re only the custodians so our job is to leave it in a better place than when we started.

“It’s been a great pleasure and the joy of it all is the friends we’ve made over the years. The club is our second home and we just want to see it thrive and carry on.

“It’s a wonderful sport. It doesn’t matter about your age or background at the club because sailing brings everyone together.”

In nominating him for the award, the club said in its citation: “Harry has served the club tirelessly, offering assistance to new commodores and committees, engaging with junior members to encourage or pass on his experiences and always willing to stop and talk to new and old members alike.

“He is a constant source of wisdom and common sense and invaluable in maintaining the club’s success.”

The RYA, boating’s national governing body, handed out 50 awards this year to celebrate long-standing volunteers and committed youngsters from across the country.

Rob Clark, RYA Director of Sport Development, said: “2021 has been another challenging year for sailing organisations with outdoor activity restarting and restrictions slowly lifting. More than ever, volunteers are the backbone of our clubs and the wider boating community, and every single award winner has made an impact by sacrificing their time and expertise so others can enjoy being on the water. It’s a pleasure to recognise their achievements.”


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