Maidenhead Sailing Club volunteer wins recognition from Princess Royal

Adrian Williams

Adrian Williams

A Taplow sailing volunteer has been presented with a prestigious national award by the Princess Royal in recognition of his generosity and commitment to the sport at grassroots level.

Thomas Knight of Maidenhead Sailing Club received a Young Volunteer Award, for people who have shown significant dedication and commitment to their club at the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) annual awards.

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and Princess Anne is the president. The volunteer awards recognise the outstanding contribution made by volunteers throughout the UK.

The awards were held at One Great George Street, London on Friday, November 19.

As a junior sailor, Thomas supported the younger members of Maidenhead Sailing Club, taking on whatever jobs he could.

As he grew older, he took on more responsibility, passing through the assistant instructor pathway.

Every day during lockdown he cycled to the club to check on everything - mowing the lawn and fixing boats and motors.

During the summer of 2020, he was one of a number of young members who acted as club facilitators, providing informal coaching to new members and novices, teaching them to to rig boats and find equipment.

Numerous members asked for him specifically to provide them with one-to- one coaching.

Now a dinghy instructor, he supports the club’s youth and junior sessions, and acts as race officer for many of their regattas.

Throughout his work Thomas was known for his enthusiasm, hard work, friendly attitude, generosity and kindness.

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”.

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