Aylsham sailing volunteers receive royal seal of approval

Alistair and Karen Fields received an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award from Her Royal Highness The Prin

Alistair and Karen Fields received an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award from Her Royal Highness The Princess Roya. Picture: RYA - Credit: RYA

Two Aylsham sailors were among dedicated volunteers from across the UK who had their endeavours recognised by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal at the annual RYA Volunteer Awards.

Alistair and Karen Fields, members of Horning Sailing Club, received an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award for their exceptional generosity and commitment to boating at the awards ceremony and exclusive luncheon held at One Great George Street, Westminster.

The RYA Awards are presented to outstanding individuals for their commitment and services to boating and to the RYA, at either a Regional or National level. A total of 44 volunteers were recognised across four categories, the RYA Awards, RYA Community Awards, Francis Elkin Award and the RYA Family Award.

Karen said of the award: 'Alastair and I were very surprised and honoured to win this lovely award. We met each other through sailing and it is a big part of our family life even today. Both our children were able to attend this superb ceremony and we felt that we had all had a really special day.

'We would like to give huge thanks to all those involved in these awards and be assured that we really appreciate all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes to make it such a special occasion.'

The RYA Community Awards consisting of Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution and Youth categories, were presented to individuals nominated by their sailing clubs and class associations and selected by the RYA Awards Panel for their contributions to sailing at grassroots level.

In nominating Alistair and Karen for the award Horning Sailing Club said: 'Alistair and Karen are stalwart supporters and active, long-standing members of Horning Sailing Club.

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'Having served on the Management Committee for many years, including a term as Commodore, Alistair is now a Trustee of the club. He has for many years been involved in HSC's famous Three Rivers Race as Radio Officer and has undertaken much of the vital equipment maintenance whilst also training non-technical volunteers in radio protocol.

'Alistair and Karen have been members of the Three Rivers Sub-Committee for over 20 years. Karen acts as guard ship communications hub for the Three Rivers Race, recording the position of over 100 participating boats throughout the 24 hour race period. She has always played a major role in timekeeping and has been Senior Timekeeper for six years.

'In addition, she arranges the Past Commodores' Dinner and sits on the Galley Sub- Committee and the Management Committee. Her tact, diplomacy and sense of humour facilitate excellent team working.'

The RYA is the national body for all forms of recreational, competitive and professional boating.

RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson explained: 'The RYA Volunteer Awards are all about celebrating the hard work and dedication of the many volunteers who put so much in to support our sport.

'It's really important we take the time to say thank you. These volunteers are making our sport happen and without them we wouldn't be getting out on the water and enjoying all the activities which we do today.'

Do you know a volunteer who always goes the extra mile? Nominations for the 2017 RYA Volunteer Awards are now invited. For more information and to make a nomination visit www.rya.org.uk/go/ryavolunteerawards