A SHIRLEY sailor will receive one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards from HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA, later this month in celebration of his huge contribution to the sport.
Earlwood Lake Sailing Club’s Steve Perring will be honoured with an RYA Lifetime Commitment award by sailing’s national governing body, which recognises individuals who have shown exceptional commitment and dedication to their club or organisation for at least 15 years.
The 70-year-old has been a stalwart club member for over 20 years, playing a key role in club development, including the acquisition of club land and the replacement of aging infrastructure, while holding numerous positions on the club’s committees.
His dedication extends to his time as a powerboat instructor and race coach, helping many others in the safe and efficient use of powerboats and honing the skills of countless club sailors at all levels.
Perring has also provided vital support to the Worcestershire Schools Sailing and Canoeing Association (WSSCA) over 15 years, initially starting through his own son’s involvement but continuing to use his skills to introduce many newcomers to sailing, becoming a popular and important figure at schools’ events, helping out with everything from driving the minibus to towing and rigging boats and offering moral support to the young sailors.
“It is very satisfying to be honoured but slightly embarrassing because I am conscious of many others equally if not more deserving than myself,” said Perring.
“The biggest thing sailing has taught me is self-confidence and I get a huge amount of enjoyment helping new sailors, in particular young ones, to learn to sail and develop their skills.
“Sailing is such a great sport to get into because of the combination of mental and physical skills required to sail well. Age is no barrier either; we have a 92-year-old in our club who is still very competitive except in heavy winds.”
Perring first learned to sail after his father bought a Burnham 12 dinghy in 1960. Although the boat was initially purchased to go fishing, Perring and his brother wanted to sail it and a young local lad taught them the ropes in Aberdaron Bay on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales. He remains a competitive sailor and regular feature on the Midlands Laser Grand Prix circuit.
Perring was nominated for his award by Earlswood Lake SC and selected as a winner by the RYA Awards panel. He will enjoy a celebratory lunch in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal, and be presented with a commemorative medallion and certificate.
Duncan Truswell, RYA Sport Development Manager, added: “The RYA Volunteer Awards are all about celebrating the commitment of the countless volunteers who do fantastic work to support boating in all its forms. These people are the lifeblood of our sport; they keep our sailing clubs, events and our organisations thriving and make it possible for others to get out on the water.”
For more information about the RYA Volunteer Awards visit www.rya.org.uk/go/RYAVolunteerAwards