Award Winning Staffordshire Sailors Have Royal Appointment

Thursday 9th November 2017

Staffordshire SailorsHRH The Princess Royal, President of the Royal Yachting Association, will present four Staffordshire sailors with one of the RYA’s most prestigious awards this month, in recognition of their exceptional generosity and commitment to the sport.

Blithfield Sailing Club’s Margaret and Bill Boyson, from Newcastle-under-Lyme, and Rudyard Lake Sailing Club’s David and Margaret Burnham will receive RYA Lifetime Commitment Awards, for individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years, at the RYA’s annual awards ceremony at One Great George Street, London on Friday 24 November.

Margaret and Bill joined Blithfield in 1984 and since then have made an immeasurable contribution to club life. Having served as Bosun for 17 years, Bill, now 88, introduced a number of systems to keep all the clubs boat – power and sailing – in good working order to enhance people’s enjoyment and convenience, while Margaret, 80, has held virtually every official role at the club and transformed club record keeping and communications.

Margaret said: “Sailing has given us so much fun, challenge, companionship, purpose, satisfaction and modest achievement. We were amazed when we heard we had won this award. The club had already honoured us with Honorary Life Membership in 2008 so we felt humble and undeserving of something so nationally special.”

Sailing has been a family affair for the Burnhams as the couple, who have sailed at Rudyard Lake for over 30 years, have seen their daughters and now grandsons be inspired in the sport. As President and Training Principal, David, 74, played an lead role in the club restructuring and its selection as a 2016 RYA Club of the Year finalist, while Margaret’s fundraising success in facilities lettings and organising socials has helped keep membership fees down.Staffordshire Sailors

David said: “Margaret decided at 40 to try something new so the whole family went on an RYA dinghy course and then joined Rudyard Lake. Our daughters made new friends and developed their independence by taking part in an adventurous sport in a safe environment, while Margaret and I had a lot of fun competing in our Enterprise dinghy. We’ve also able to sail in many parts of the world with three generations on board. It’s given us so much.”

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and the Volunteer Awards are considered the ‘MBEs’ of the sport, honouring people throughout the UK for their outstanding contributions across all the disciplines the RYA represents, including sailing, windsurfing, powerboating, inland waterways and personal watercraft. The Boysons and Burnhams were nominated for their awards by their clubs and selected as winners by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.

For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards or to find out how you can get out on the water in the Midlands visit