Sussex sailors receive awards from Princess Royal

John and Sue Nash
John and Sue Nash

Four sailors from the Chichester area are each to be presented with one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards by HRH The Princess Royal, president of the RYA, in recognition of their commitment to their sailing clubs.

Juliet Brecknell, John and Sue Nash of Chichester and John Coyle of West Wittering will each receive an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award.

John Coyle

John Coyle

The four were selected as winners by the RYA honours and awards panel and will receive their awards at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony in London today (November 22).

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and the volunteer awards are considered the ‘MBEs’ of the sport, honouring people throughout the UK for their outstanding contributions across all the disciplines the RYA represents, including sailing, windsurfing, motor cruising, inland waterways and personal watercraft.

Juliet has been a stalwart member of Chichester Yacht Club for more than 40 years and has dedicated much of her time to supporting the club, and dinghy sailing in particular.

She has been a major contributor to the success of the club’s volunteer-run tea bar where, for ten years, she has organised the rotas, ordered food, trained other volunteers, processed accounts and has been the welcoming face for members coming off the water.

Juliet Brecknell

Juliet Brecknell

She has also been a key member of the Family/Junior Week support team and although now retired from sailing she supports the club’s open meeting programme.

Juliet is a beacon of community spirit within the club, always gracious, helpful and charming. Her commitment has enabled the club to grow and become a thriving and dynamic organisation within the Chichester community.

John Coyle first joined the committee of the West Wittering Sailing Club in 1999 and has occupied several roles, but his main focus has been on looking after the club’s safety and committee boats which he has done with exemplary dedication.

His unstinting efforts mean the club now operate three safety boats and a committee boat, allowing a full racing programme and an extensive and popular junior programme. It is a testament to his skills, dedication and hard work that the club has never had to call off an event because of equipment failure.

Now in his early 80s, he is reluctantly handing over responsibility to younger members, but he remains an example of how to keep fit, clambering around on boats, doing the day-to-day jobs that keep them reliable. John will be a hard act to follow.

John said: “I was totally surprised to receive notification of the intended award. I am delighted to accept this prestigious award as a reflection of my club’s gratitude for the enjoyable contribution I’ve made to the club’s success over a number of years.”

Together, Sue and John Nash have worked tirelessly to establish Dell Quay Sailing Club’s RYA training centre status. Their enthusiasm, energy and commitment have paid enormous dividends for DQSC.

Sue has invested unprecedented amounts of time, energy and goodwill in the club, building a strong volunteer community and undertaking many roles, including commodore since 2017.

The strategy developed and led by Sue is to get more people on the water. Sue’s leadership saw DQSC as an RYA club of the year south region finalist, and recognised for innovative and forward thinking.

John has served in a variety of roles including commodore, creating a legacy of strong financial governance and club improvements as well as taking the lead with the club’s powerboat training courses.

For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards visit www.rya.org.uk/go/volunteerawards