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BYC Sailors recognised by RYA National Awards

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BYC Sailors recognised by RYA National Awards

Ballyholme Yacht Club Sailors (BYC) recognised by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) in their National Awards

The RYA is the national body for dinghy, yacht and motor cruising, all forms of sail racing, RIBs, sports boats, windsurfing and personal watercraft in addition to being a leading representative for inland waterways cruising. It has more than 1,500 affiliated clubs and classes, which represent some 350,000 boaters throughout the UK. Each year the RYA recognises individuals in their Community Awards across  three categories: Lifetime Commitment, Outstanding Contribution and Youth which are presented to outstanding individuals for their commitment and services to boating at club or grassroots level.


This year 44 awards were made across the UK and local sailors, Kate Pounder and Paul Prentice were amongst those recognised in the Youth and Lifetime Commitment categories respectively.

Normally these awards are presented by HRH The Princess Royal in London, however this year due to the pandemic this has not been possible.


Richard Honeyford, Chief Operating Officer for the RYA (NI) said “On behalf of RYA Northern Ireland I would like to thank all of our dedicated volunteers, who make our sport the success that it is. I am delighted for our four local sailors who have been recognised nationally by the Royal Yachting Association for all their hard work. Devoted to their clubs, these volunteers ensure the smooth running of many aspects of club life and also do so much to benefit the wider local community.”

Jackie Patton, Chair of RYA Northern Ireland, commented: “Our volunteers are the bedrock of our sport, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure the smooth running of our clubs and the constant development of our sport. I am delighted that our volunteers have been recognised nationally for their efforts and congratulate them on their fantastic achievements.”


Kate received the Youth Award for going above and beyond in her role as an Instructor at Ballyholme Yacht Club where Kate has worked her way through the RYA instructor syllabus, gaining her Senior Instructor qualification in 2017 which led to her appointment as Chief Sailing Instructor for BYC in 2019, their Centenary year. Whilst at BYC, Kate consistently gave her time and infectious enthusiasm for the good of the Club and its’ Members. Commenting on her award, Kate said: “When I realised I had won an award I felt completely overjoyed and surprised. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed helping out at my home club and the more I got involved the better I felt about myself and the way others engaged with me. Sailing at Ballyholme is a real community and thrives on people getting actively involved and I wanted to be part of that”.

Paul received the Lifetime Commitment award for nearly two decades of volunteering, coaching and instructing at Ballyholme Yacht Club in addition to being one of only a few RYA Coach Accessors in NI. Paul is the current Training Centre Principal at BYC where he leads a great Team delivering instruction to sailing, racing, powerboat / safety boat and shore based courses. More recently that has expanded to paddleboarding too. In addition to this Paul has been working closely with the Sir Thomas Lipton Foundation and it’s Buoyed-Up programme, the Andrew Simpson Foundation and the Department for Education for Northern Ireland. Paul has been key to the BYC delivering sailing opportunities for disadvantaged young people from schools in the local community and in developing new links between the Club and external organisations, as well as securing funding from innovative sources to help deliver initiatives for the Club and the local community.

Ballyholme Yacht Club were absolutely delighted to see Members once again recognised for their contribution to Sailing and the Local Community.

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