Scotland’s Community Champions Recognised at RYA Volunteer Awards

The RYA Volunteer Awards were held in London on the 10th of November where Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of the RYA, was on hand to commend those who give up their time for the benefit of boating.

Three Scots were awarded accolades this year, celebrating their dedication, hard work, and impact on their respective clubs, with two coming from Cramond Boat Club.

Campbell Calder, from Cramond Boat Club in Edinburgh was honoured with a Lifetime Commitment Award, recognising his devotion to growing various aspects of the club’s offering.

Since becoming heavily integrated into the Cramond’s operations in the noughties, Campbell has been helping out wherever possible, be that by helping grow dinghy numbers, or making sure ribs are in top shape.


Telling us about his journey at the club, Campbell said:

“I started sailing at Cramond back in the 90’s, in fact I started sailing here back in the 70’s. I got involved in the early 2000’s and I’ve been involved ever since.

“I’ve done a wide range of things, I’ve done five years as sailing secretary, which I’ve just stepped down from this season, but I’m still very involved as bosun for the dinghies, looking after the various lasers and wayfarers we’ve got.

“We’ve worked really hard at getting a nice inclusive environment for people to come and enjoy themselves, the principal thing being enjoying yourself and doing it safely, while having fun. It’s really gratifying this year to see numbers increase.

“What motivates me is I get immense pleasure seeing people who have never sailed before coming through our training programme.”

 Scottish Recipients of the RYA Volunteer of the Year Award 2023 

Also receiving recognition was Lawrie Elliot, also of Cramond Boat Club, who was awarded an Outstanding Contribution Award. 

Having spent a decade on the committee, Lawrie is described as an invaluable asset during member discussions, helping take forward new ideas constructively and with the clubs’ best interests at heart.

Scottish Recipients of the RYA Volunteer of the Year Award 2023

On the west coast, Ian Dewar of Lochaber Yacht Club in Fort William was also presented with a lifetime commitment award.

As a member of LYC for over 40 years, Ian brings a wealth of experience to the table, and is always keen to introduce new people to sailing.

He also took a key role in integrating the Lochaber Sea Cadets into the club and is often found lending a hand wherever required, be that by mark laying, or safety boating.

Scottish Recipients of the RYA Volunteer of the Year Award 2023

Describing his recent accolade as ‘Quite unexpected’, Ian said:

“A friend at the club put me in for it. It is nice to be recognised for being useful around the club and that I was thought about.

“I help out and I have a Catamaran which serves as a good stable committee vessel. We had the Soling championships this summer at the club, and while I’m too old for the Soling I can keep everyone in fresh coffee and enjoy the racing.”

 He’s also offering his advice to anyone thinking about volunteering:

“Go for it. It’s worth getting involved and there have been a lot of opportunities through helping with the club activities.”


Reflecting on the Volunteer Awards and the hard work of so many individuals, RYA CEO Sara Sutcliffe MBE said:

“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.

“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.”

Interested in volunteering? To find out more and what impact it can have on you, your club, and your community, with some useful resources below:

The RYA has excellent resources on the Volunteering pages, highlighting the variety of volunteering opportunities within the sport. In working directly with clubs RYA Scotland has also created a Volunteer Development Framework to help conversations around volunteering,

Know a hard-working club member who truly makes a difference? RYA Scotland are always eager to hear your stories, and recognise outstanding contributions across the boating community through our RYA Scotland Impact Awards.

They are designed to recognise the value these individuals have on those around them. You can nominate someone or an organisation for an award as a personal thank you, or to recognise a wider impact. Hear from some of our past Impact Award recipients.

Finally RYA Scotland relies on a network of volunteers and are always open to people who wish to join us and support boating in Scotland. Find out more about available voluntary roles on our webpage.