A DEDICATED sailing volunteer has been handed a royal award after devoting more than 20 years to Olton Mere Sailing Club.
Richard Bower was given a Lifetime Commitment Award by Princess Anne, the Princess Royal and president of the royal yatching association at the group’s annual Volunteer Awards
The 38-year-old sound production engineer from Solihull has volunteered for more than two decades and has taught people of all ages to sail in his role as a senior instructor.
Richard said: “I started sailing with school and I’ve been volunteering as an instructor since I was a teenager.
“I just enjoy being out there and taking someone who’s never been in a boat before to being able to sail it on their own. Supporting that progression is great and when I see people I taught years ago having fun sailing – or coming through to become instructors themselves – it’s really rewarding.”
In the nomination the sailing club said: “Richard is a great motivator in sailing and also stand-up paddleboarding, which has become increasingly popular at the club thanks to his good example and help.
“A true ambassador to grassroots sailing, he has supported others through the past, difficult year, despite his own work concerns, going the extra mile for sailors, paddlers and the club.”
Richard’s volunteering includes looking after the club’s fleet of training and safety boats – ensuring equipment and operating procedures are maintained to the highest standard – and during the pandemic he stepped into the role of safety officer.