Royal honour as Banbury Sailing Club pair collect national volunteer awards

The Princess Royal and Graeme Castle having presented him his lifetime commitment award. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RYA
The Princess Royal and Graeme Castle having presented him his lifetime commitment award. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RYA

Two Banbury Sailing Club members were presented with awards from the Royal Yachting Association by The Princess Royal for their dedication to the club.

Princess Anne, who is also RYA president, handed Graeme Castle the lifetime commitment award and Andrew Rimmer the outstanding contribution award at a ceremony on November 16.

Andrew Rimmer receives his RYA outstanding contribution award from the Princess Royal. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RYA

Andrew Rimmer receives his RYA outstanding contribution award from the Princess Royal. Photo: Paul Wyeth/RYA

Graeme, 54, has been a member at the Boddington Reservoir club since 2001 and a driving force behind the success of the club’s junior racing section.

Having served as a senior instructor for more than a decade, he has encouraged youngsters to take up racing and guided them as many have progressed into the RYA’s regional and national junior racing squads.

Meanwhile, Andrew, 57, has been an equally big influence in opening up sailing for more local youngsters and enabling them to the enjoy the broader learning benefits that getting on the water brings.

Under his leadership the club’s junior section flourished, to the extent that, at one point, numbers had to be capped.

Its success rejuvenated the whole club and there are now no fewer than 70 active junior members.

On presenting the awards, Princess Anne stressed how volunteers in sailing clubs and class associations across the country should not underplay the difference they make to what can be achieved.

She also underlined how their commitment makes it more possible for others to enjoy the sport they love themselves.

RYA director of sport development Alistair Dickson said: “The RYA Volunteer Awards recognise the outstanding contributions made by volunteers nationwide.

"The ceremony was 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.”

Chris Preston, chairman of the RYA, added: “Our Volunteer Awards are really critical to our sport because if we look at what the RYA does through the clubs throughout the country, we have more than 80,000 volunteers that make this all possible."