Royal Presentation for Benfleet Yacht Club Volunteer

The 2023 RYA Volunteer Awards were held on Friday 10 November at One Great George Street, with 81 accolades given this year in recognition of the outstanding dedication and commitment made by volunteers of all ages and from all corners of the UK.

Outstanding Contribution

Sue has been a hard-working and enthusiastic volunteer member of Benfleet Yacht Club for over 28 years. She has been Race Officer for all that time, officiating club dinghy racing and the annual open Nore Race. For 21 years she has also been Honorary Secretary, dealing with the general club administration and leading volunteers in a wide range of tasks additional to her role description.

As well as her two main roles, she heads up the catering team for the annual cadet sail training week, providing meals for about 50 cadets and 70 adults. She has also acted as Race Officer for three Round the World Clipper Races on behalf of Sir Robin Knox-Johnson.

Sue provides her knowledge and support around the annual change of Committee members and is also a point of contact for anyone who needs help, advice, and support within the club. With her cheerful dedication, she is one of the heroes working in the background, encouraging everyone, enabling members to enjoy the benefits of their club and helping it to thrive.

RYA Director pays tribute

RYA Director of Sport Development Rob Clark paid tribute to the enormous impact that volunteers have in sailing and boating communities.

“It’s always so inspiring to hear of the amazing work that is happening every day, up and down the country, by volunteers right at the heart of our sport,” Rob explained.

“Whether it’s encouraging newcomers to give it a try, looking after facilities so people can get afloat safely, running weekend racing, or fundraising for equipment so more people can be introduced to the joys of being on the water – there really is a rewarding role for everyone in our communities, from teenager to octogenarian!”

Humbling achievements

“Our sport relies so much on the goodwill and skills of volunteers at every level, without whom the opportunities to get involved in boating would be greatly reduced,” said RYA CEO Sara Sutcliffe MBE.

“They are very often the first point of contact for new participants across the nations and regions, and can help to motivate a lifetime’s interest, or inspire others to train for fulfilling careers across the marine industry.

“It’s so humbling to hear of the many examples of selfless commitment our award recipients have shown – in many cases spanning decades – and they represent many thousands more who give their time to support boating in whatever way, great or small. Our grateful thanks go to them all.”

Start your volunteering journey

Volunteers form the core of RYA and club initiatives, offering rewarding opportunities and assisting others to experience the water’s numerous benefits.

With various volunteering options available, dedicating even a small amount of your time can create a significant impact. Join us and make a difference today.

Find out more about volunteering.

Benfleet Yacht Club

Find out more about Benfleet Yacht Club here.

For more information about how to get out on the water in the East Region, visit


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