Volunteers have their hard work rewarded

George Ternent
George Ternent

Two volunteers are being presented with one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards.

George Ternent and Vic Brown will both receive a Lifetime Commitment Award from RYA president the Princess Royal at a ceremony in London tomorrow.

George was nominated in recognition of four decades of volunteering for the River Aln Boat Club, of which he was a founder member in 1977.

He helped to set up the club when, after sailing his yacht across the Atlantic, he realised he couldn’t enter a sailing club in Barbados because he wasn’t a member of a yacht club. On his return, he secured the original tenancy and mooring rights for the club.

Since then he has always been involved on the committee and with work to improve facilities. He still sails his 17ft keelboat and also organises the club’s dinghy racing and RNLI fund-raising events, even finding time to cut the grass.

He said: “It’s very important that we look to get younger people in and teach them. I just enjoy it down at the club, it’s a great environment and a good set of people. It’s very rewarding.”

Vic, a watersports volunteer from Amble, was instrumental in setting up the Coquet Shorebase Trust in 1992 to provide watersports for all, and subsequently volunteering her time to support its work over more than 25 years, including for the last eight years as its operations manager and principal instructor.

The trust has bases at Amble and Druridge Bay Country Park, where Vic helped to create a purpose-built centre after securing more than £100,000 of funding.

It provides watersports and training – including sailing, windsurfing and canoeing – for all ages and skill levels. Disadvantaged young people and children with disabilities are among those who benefit, and Vic’s work has also seen two apprentices trained up to become instructors.

The retired outdoor pursuits teacher said: “I just get enormous satisfaction from seeing people take up sports and enjoy themselves, and in some cases become coaches themselves. The trust also does a really good job of making sure that anyone can get on water regardless of income.”

RYA chief executive Sarah Treseder said that without the work of inspirational volunteers at clubs and centres the sport would be immeasurably poorer, adding: “The generosity and dedication of this year’s RYA Volunteer Award winners is simply astounding.”