West Sussex sailors delighted by royal honour

John and Sue Nash of Chichester and John Coyle of West Wittering were among volunteers from across the UK recognised for their exceptional dedication and achievements in boating at the RYA Volunteer Awards by HRH The Princess Royal.

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 7:00 am
John Coyle receives his award from The Princess Royal

They were each selected as RYA Lifetime Commitment Awards winners by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel, with the presentation being held in Westminster. The awards were given in recognition of their commitment to their sailing clubs.

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.

John Coyle joined the committee of the West Wittering Sailing Club in 1999. Due to his unstinting efforts, the club now operates three safety boats and a committee boat, allowing a full racing programme and an extensive and popular junior programme.

John and Sue Nash receive their awards

He said: “This is a great experience to live with for as long as I may! West Wittering SC is delighted to have been represented, and hopefully the Award will be added to in future years by the other hard working members who have devoted so much time to its growing success.”

At Dell Quay SC Sue and John Nash established the club’s RYA Training Centre status in 2009. Sue built a strong volunteer community and both John and Sue have undertaken many roles, including both serving as Commodore and getting many more people on the water.

John oversaw strong financial governance and club improvements as well as taking the lead with the club’s Powerboat Training courses. After the couple received their award, John commented: “We thoroughly enjoyed the awards event. It was particularly interesting to hear about all the work that so many other volunteers do, and enjoy. The architecture of the building in which the ceremony took place is magnificent, which enhanced to the whole experience. It was very special meeting HRH Princess Royal.”

During 40 years of commitment to Chichester Yacht Club, Juliet Brecknell, who was not able to be at the presentation ceremony, was a major contributor to the success of the club’s volunteer-run tea bar where she organises rotas, training, food supplies and accounts, as well as being a key member of the Family/Junior Week support team. Nominations are now invited for the 2020 Awards. See www.rya.org.uk/go/volunteerawards