SAILING: TWO sailors from Solihull will be presented with one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards at the end of the month by HRH The Princess Royal.
David Ingram and Peter Smerdon will both receive the RYA Lifetime Commitment Award.
The award recognises those that have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years.
The pair, both from Balsall Common, will receive their awards at the RYA’s annual awards ceremony at One Great George Street in London on Friday, November 24.
David and Peter have both been members of the Earlswood Lakes Sailing club for many decades.
Having started out as a keen sailor, David’s support at Earlswood Lakes spans 40 years.
He has been instrumental in developing the club’s handicap system, to ensure fair racing, and encouraging increased member participation and retention.
The 80-year-old said: “After my wife died eight years ago the sailing club friends rallied round and helped me through that trying time and gave me me some focus to my life.
“I have continued to help where I can at the club, which gets me out into a warm friendly environment.
“I was thrilled when I found out about the award, although I still do not understand why I should receive one when sailing has done so much for me and my family.”
Meanwhile Peter, aged 67, is a founder member of the Heart of England Offshore Cruising Association (HOEOCA) – which formed 25 years ago.
Since then he has helped open up opportunities for people who live miles from the sea in the Midlands to enjoy offshore sailing and yachting.
Peter said: “When I opened the letter from the RYA to say I had won the award it was a complete surprise and I was delighted and touched.
“I’ve always felt that since I’ve been privileged to be able to do the sailing I do, it’s necessary to put a bit back in by helping my club and the RYA.
“To receive this award made me feel as though I’d just won the Fastnet Race.”