By Royal Appointment

On Friday 24th November two volunteers close to the Topper Family, Sally Dugdale and Robin Gray, were presented with awards for their contributions to the Sailing Community.

Our own Sally Dugdale, Vice-President Racing for ITCA World, former Chairman of ITCA (GBR) and now Vice-Chairman Racing ITCA (GBR), was rewarded for her tireless work in the class and received one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards – RYA Community Awards Outstanding Contribution.

Sally was presented with the award by HRH The Princess Royal.

The RYA Volunteer awards are the MBE's of our sport, and recognise the outstanding contributions made by volunteers throughout the UK.

Recipients of the 2017 RYA Volunteer Awards and their guests were invited to a special presentation ceremony and luncheon in London.

Sally has contributed significantly and over many years to ITCA (GBR) as a parent, committee member and Chairman. As East Area representative she encouraged a number of East Region sailors into ITCA and has seen them progress through junior, youth, podium and university sailing, as well as coaching.

While Vice-Chair Racing, she took a lead role in major event organisation, and as Chairman she has ensured that the class represents the entire membership, not just elite racers, and that the motto, ‘the friendly class’, is strictly adhered to. Sally now also plays a major role internationally as Vice-President Racing for ITCA World.

The RYA statement says that Sally has “Always (been) considered and measured in her approach, with the courage to persevere, Sally is a tough and committed character who just gets on with it”.

Modest as always, Sally said she “was really surprised and (I) feel honoured to have been given this award”.

Robin Gray, who was PRO for the Topper World Championships 2016, also received an RYA Award for Contribution to his Region.  Robin has been the RYA's Regional Race Management Co-ordinator in Northern Ireland for over 10 years and has gone above and beyond this as a Race Officer.  Robin has mentored individuals, supported clubs in running events, attended international meetings on Race Management and in rules disputes but most vitally, Robin has made a huge impact into the development of Race Management in Northern Ireland.

Well done Sally and Robin from everyone in the Topper ‘family’.

Sally Dugdale

Robin Gray, photo by Simon McIlwaine, Wavelength Images