Kettering village sailing club volunteer Nigel honoured by Princess Royal
He was given a Lifetime Commitment Award for his service to Cransley SC
An Earls Barton sailor has been recognised for his dedicated volunteering and his outstanding contribution to the sport by HRH The Princess Royal.
Nigel Austin, commodore of Cransley Sailing Club, was among those honoured at a glittering ceremony for the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Volunteer Awards held in London. where he presented with an award by the princess who is president of the RYA.
Mr Austin has been an active committee member at Cransley Sailing Club for more than 30 years and received a lifetime commitment award.
He said: “There are a lot of people who help out all the time at the club and having been there on and off since I was seven, I just know it’s a magical place.
"You get a regeneration of your batteries every time you go up there. It’s a wonderful setting for people to learn to sail or just be there because it’s a real oasis.
"I volunteer along with so many others involved in the club because I want it to be there for people to enjoy forever.”
As Cransley Sailing Club’s sailing principal for several years, Nigel encouraged the growth of the youth section.
In his current role as commodore, he has obtained a number of grants to improve the clubhouse as well as continuing discussions with the club’s landlord to ensure long-term stability. During 2020 Nigel ensured members could get on the water in a Covid-secure way during restrictions. He was also instrumental in the club introducing stand-up paddleboarding in 2019, which increased membership dramatically and has seen paddleboarders trying sailing.
In nominating Nigel for a RYA volunteer award, the club’s citation said: “Nothing is too much trouble for Nigel and he will always give time to help someone, both on and off the water. His drive and can-do attitude were never more needed than in 2020 when everyone was struggling with their mental health – he is the glue that keeps the club together.”
The RYA is boating’s national governing body and 50 awards were presented this year to celebrate long-standing volunteers and committed youngsters from across the UK who have made an impact by giving their time to help others and the sport.
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.”