A sailor from Deanshanger, near Milton Keynes, is to be presented with one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards by HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA.

Oliver (Olly) Anderson will receive an RYA Youth Award.  He was selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel and will receive his award at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony in London on 22 November. The Award is in recognition of his commitment to Haversham Sailing Club.  

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, motor cruising, inland waterways and personal watercraft.  

Olly joined Haversham Sailing Club at the age of 12 and learnt to sail in the club’s Buccaneers section. He soon started racing, becoming a regular winner of various youth series and trophies, but was always assisting those less experienced than himself, often coaching beginners as he lapped them. At 16 he became an Assistant Instructor to help with the Buccaneers and annual Junior Week and is now an RYA Dinghy Instructor and Race Coach Level 2.  

Last year Olly identified the need for a transition mechanism for a large group of youth members in their teens from the Buccaneers to a more structured training programme in preparation for racing. He formed the Haversham Youth Squad, where, under his leadership it has become a cohesive team.  The club has since seen a marked improvement in the recruitment and retention of members with young families. Olly has demonstrated an impressive ability as a youth leader. He sets an excellent example and commands the respect of his students. He has now joined the Board and contributes fully to the management of the club.  

Olly says of his Award “I'm very grateful to have even been nominated for this award, but to win it is a shock.  I'd just like to thank everyone that has supported me and encouraged me throughout my development in sailing. I really appreciate all of the support and advice I’ve been given. Thanks also to Haversham Sailing Club for believing in me and giving me the freedom to try different things out.”   

More information about the RYA Volunteer Awards.   

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