December 6th, 2022.

Volunteers from our region were among the 48 from across the UK to be awarded for their exceptional commitment and achievements in boating by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, President of the RYA.

The presentation was at the annual ceremony held at the  Grade II listed ‘One Great George Street’ in central London. Celebrating both long-standing and younger volunteers, the awards recognise all those who have contributed to the sport and made an impact in their communities.

Family award for Chris, Carolyn and Jazz Turner
Chris, Carolyn and Jazz Turner (pictured above) from Seaford in East Sussex received the RYA Family Award, which is presented to a family group deserving of recognition for the impact they have made both as individuals and collectively as a family.

Chris and Carolyn have been members of Newhaven and Seaford Sailing Club (NSSC) since their teens. Carolyn ran hugely successful cadet evenings for eight years as Cadet Commodore. A former GP, she also ran first aid courses for the club.

Chris has served as Vice-Commodore and Commodore. He was also the Powerboat Bosun for ten years, spending several hours each week ensuring RIBs, the committee boat and equipment were ready for use; he continues to keep a tool bag ready in the car!

Jazz started sailing at the age of 13 and has faced a number of challenges. At 18 she was diagnosed with a progressive, physically limiting condition. Having sailed a Laser and a Fireball, and built her own Farr 3.7 from scratch, she describes sailing as “giving me a family” and “a community in which I am accepted”.

Chris and Carolyn effectively adopted Jazz about five years ago, giving her a loving home and the support to continue her sailing. Jazz became an experienced sailor and Dinghy Instructor, rising up through the Laser squad and later helming and competing at the World Championships in the Fireball fleet. In 2018, with the help of RYA Sailability, she started sailing the 2.4mR and rapidly gained respect from the fleet, competing at Kiel Week and the World Championships in Genoa.

In 2019 Jazz proposed that the club become a Sailability centre and, with the support of Chris and Carolyn, old boats donated by Tideway Sailability, and an RYA foundation grant for a hoist, Newhaven and Seaford Sailability (NSS) was born. Today it is going from strength to strength and the family works tirelessly to help disabled people discover the same freedom Jazz has enjoyed. Every week Chris, Carolyn and Jazz give disabled adults and children the chance to experience the joy of sailing, with Jazz’s dynamic enthusiasm leading the way.

Commenting on receiving the award, Carolyn said: "It was a bit surreal, as you don’t think you’ve done anything to deserve it. It’s just what you do and what you enjoy, so it was nice to be recognised. A particular highlight of the day was seeing just how many volunteers are involved in the sport, and that’s really just the tip of the iceberg. Seeing that there are so many people involved and that they’ve been recognised has been really nice to see.”

Chris added: “It was a very nice surprise and honour to receive the award from Princess Anne, and we hope to continue running Sailability and support the club for as long as we can.”

Rob Clark, RYA Director of Sport Development said: “So many different types of people give their time to support sailors in enjoying the many benefits of getting on the water – and this year’s Volunteer Awards demonstrate that there is a role for everyone, both on and off the water.

“It is truly inspiring to see awards going to volunteers ranging in age from teenagers, who have experienced at a young age how rewarding it can be to contribute to the wider community, to those who have given more than 60 years of service, helping to sustain not only our sport but also local communities.”

Attending her first RYA Volunteer Awards ceremony, Chief Executive Sara Sutcliffe MBE, commented: “The commitment and dedication that this year’s RYA Volunteer Award recipients have shown is simply outstanding. It has been an honour for me to be part of the for the first time.

“Each and every one of our award recipients has been an inspiration to us all and it is my great pleasure to recognise their contributions and achievements.”

Start your journey
Volunteers are at the heart of RYA and club activity, providing opportunities and supporting others to enjoy being on the water and enjoying the many benefits it brings. There are many ways to volunteer and if you’re able to give a little of your time you can make a big difference. Find out more HERE.

Photo credit Paul Wyeth RYA
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