Royal seal of approval for 87-year-old lifetime yachting volunteer from Northampton

John has been a friendly soul around Northampton Sailing Club since the 1970s and is being honoured for his work by Princess Anne, who is president of the Royal Yachting Association.
John has been a friendly soul around Northampton Sailing Club since the 1970s and is being honoured for his work by Princess Anne, who is president of the Royal Yachting Association.

Princess Anne will present a Northampton sailor with a prestigious yachting award,in recognition of his exceptional generosity and commitment to the sport at grassroots level.

John Warner of Northampton Sailing Club will receive a Royal Yachting Association (RYA) lifetime commitment award after showing exceptional commitment and dedication to his club for at least 15 years.

Anthony Lunch (Oxford University).

Anthony Lunch (Oxford University).

John, 87, has been a constant friendly face around Northampton Sailing Club since 1975, both as a successful racer in the GP14 class and devoting a huge amount of time and energy into maintaining the Pitsford Water site to provide the ideal environment, not only for sailing but for the wildlife.

The Eastfield man said: “Sailing has given me more than 40 years of friendly competition, lasting friendships and camaraderie while improving my own skills and helping others develop their techniques.

"It keeps me active and involved and I enjoy being outdoors. I get great pleasure from keeping the club site tidy and attractive for other members, old and new, and great satisfaction from seeing through projects, such as building an outdoor storage area."

John regularly organises projects to upgrade the site’s facilities while also quietly going about a myriad of jobs behind the scenes.

Andrew Rimmer.

Andrew Rimmer.

John will pick up his award at the RYA's annual awards ceremony on November 16 alongside Anthony Lunch, of Milton Malsar, who has been a stalwart of Oxford University Yacht Club for more than 50 years, both as a student and alumni of the university.

Anthony retired from the committee in February 2018 having ensured Oxford University YC remained the home for all Oxford sailors, irrespective of their discipline or experience within the sport.

He said: “I am extremely pleased to have been nominated and regard the award as a great honour and totally unexpected.

"To help and encourage youth sailing is a particular privilege and I have had enormous enjoyment from sailing, both in dinghies and keelboats over many years.”

Meanwhile, Andrew Rimmer, of Banbury Sailing Club, will collect an RYA outstanding contribution award, for individuals who have made a significant volunteer contribution either over a period of time or a ‘one-off’ effort.

Helmdon-based Andrew, 57, has had a big influence in opening up sailing for local youngsters at Banbury Sailing Club, helping the club to achieve RYA OnBoard status, while he was instrumental in applying for grants, supervising the build and overseeing the renovations for Banbury’s £135,000 clubhouse, which opened last year.

Andrew said: “I am very grateful to my colleagues at Banbury SC for the award nomination but also very humble.

"I understand it is to recognise the work done around the development of our clubhouse, but while I may have lead the project the reality is it was only delivered through the fantastic support and many hundreds of hours put in by all of the project team and club members."

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, powerboating, inland waterways and personal watercraft.

The winners were selected by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.