A sailor and volunteer from Sunbury-on-Thames has been presented with one of the RYA’s most prestigious awards by HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA in recognition of his commitment to Queen Mary Sailing Club (QMSC).

Tony Woods received an Outstanding Contribution Award after being nominated by his club and selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. He was presented at One Great George Street, London on Friday 22 November.

The RYA is boating’s national governing body and the Volunteer Awards are considered the ‘MBEs’ of the sport, honouring people throughout the UK for their outstanding contributions across all the disciplines the RYA represents, including sailing, windsurfing, motor cruising, inland waterways and personal watercraft.

Watch a video of the awards here

Tony has been Fleet Captain at QMSC for nine years and organiser of the UK Laser Nationals for two years running. His own mentoring scheme gets the fleet to work together to improve sailing standards, provides support when things don’t go well and gives every Laser sailor at QMSC a sense of being on the same team.

He has introduced training sessions after racing on Sundays as well as professional coaching sessions from top Laser sailors. He initiated the Big Sunday series to get as many Laser sailors on the water as possible and has set up the QM Laser website and Facebook page. As a result, his resurrected QM Laser fleet is now as big as it was in the 1980s.

The UK Laser Association has persuaded Tony to bring his considerable organisational skills and energy to organising the Laser Nationals, and in Plymouth in 2018 he was responsible for creating the whole social programme. His consistent support for Laser sailors locally and nationally is outstanding.

Tony said on receiving his award: “I was both thrilled and honoured to receive the RYA award. Thanks to QMSC for nominating me and for being such a great team to work with! My wife and I enjoyed the awards ceremony very much.”

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