Cookham Rise couple given national volunteering award

A husband and wife were both presented with a national volunteering award by Princess Anne on Saturday.

David and Fiona Baddeley, who have volunteered with a number of sailing centres across the country to help junior boat enthusiasts typically aged between six and 13, received their awards from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) at a ceremony in One Great George Street, a Westminster conference venue.

The couple, who live in Maidenhead Road, Cookham Rise, have volunteered at centres such as Burghfield Sailing Club near Theale, and the family has helped at Cookham Rise Sailing Club, in Berries Road, with its junior programmes.

David, 54, said: “It was really good to meet Her Royal Highness.

“We discussed my introduction into sailing and what I do organising junior sailing and what children get out of it.

“We also discussed places we’ve sailed as Her Royal Highness has had holidays in Scotland’s western isles.”

They got in to sailing as three sons, Robert, 21, Jonathan, 19, and Peter, 16, have all sailed and coached at some point.

David, who works in management consultancy, and Fiona, 52, a lecturer at Bucks New University, have been primarily involved with the International Optimist Class Association for over a decade.

It receives money from Sport England and runs five national events a year.

David said: “Volunteering is very rewarding. It's good to give something back into a sport that has supported me.

“There’s a great sense of achievement in seeing children enjoying and developing their sailing and social skills.

“It can also be great fun working with others towards a common goal.”

The RYA said: “David and Fiona are two of the strongest, most consistent volunteers the Optimist Class has ever had.

“What makes their contribution exceptional is not just their length of service, nor the fact that they continue to volunteer at all levels, but that they are always there in the background working away for the benefit of the class.”

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