Filey volunteer receives prestigious Royal Yachting Association award by Princess Anne

James Whitehead has been presented the award by HRH Princess Anne.
James Whitehead has been presented the award by HRH Princess Anne.

A volunteer from Filey has received one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards by HRH Princess Anne.

James Whitehead was among 57 people presented with the Outstanding Contribution award in recognition of his commitment to Filey Sailing Club.

He received the accolade at a special ceremony held at One Great George Street, Westminster, London.

James, who set up Bay Watersports in Filey and is also a HM Coastguard volunteer, became the club's commodore in 2015 and successfully brought in a £75,000 Sport England grant to modernise its facilities, helping to boost membership and participation. He is now the club's training officer and aims to increase opportunities for those wanting to learn how to sail or improve their skills.

The RYA Awards were presented by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of the YRA, to recognise boating’s most dedicated volunteers from across the country.

"Each person went up to receive their award and she talked to me about the fact I'd been involved with the club since childhood," said James. "She was really knowledgeable and friendly and the whole occasion was excellent. It was a really good day!"

RYA Director of Sport Development, Alistair Dickson added: “The RYA Volunteer Awards, sometimes known as the MBEs of our sport, recognise the outstanding contributions made by volunteers nationwide.

“It has been a fantastic opportunity to say thank you to the people that go above and beyond, giving that little bit extra to ensure others can enjoy the sport we all love. Volunteers really are the lifeblood of boating and it’s an honour to reward their efforts and give something back.”