Princess Royal to hand over awards for services to sailing to long-serving pair

Benedict Whybrow.

Benedict Whybrow. - Credit: Archant

Hard-working sailing volunteers from Clevedon and Yatton will have a royal appointment this week to recognise decades of service.

Michael Batchelor.

Michael Batchelor. - Credit: Archant

Michael Batchelor and Benedict Whybrow will receive awards from the Princess Royal on Friday as thanks for their efforts and commitment to Clevedon Sailing Club.

Michael, who has been a member since 1993, will pick up the lifetime commitment award at the Royal Yachting Association’s ceremony in London.

Benedict will receive the outstanding contribution prize.

Both men said it was a tremendous honour to be recognised.

Michael said: “I was very flattered and honoured to have been recognised with the lifetime commitment award.

“I have spent my whole adult life involved in the sea with academic, professional or recreational activities, but had never expected to have been seen as worthy of this award.

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“My objective is to broaden the awareness of the enjoyment sea and sailing can bring, encouraging people, especially young people, to learn more about the world of water sports and the maritime environment on our shores.

“It will be a great experience to meet up with many other sailors and supporters of sailing at a prestigious event, with the presence of the Princess Royal to give the day extra memories.”

Michael has taken on a number of roles with the club over the years, but his standout achievements include securing two cash grants from Sports England. They paid for refurbishment work and new training dinghies.

He also is involved in the club’s junior programme.

Benedict has been Clevedon Sailing Club’s training principal for six years, and like Michael has held a number of roles over the years and played an instrumental role in getting the £60,000 Sports England funding.

He said: “There are hundreds of volunteer instructors at sailing clubs all over the country who do exactly what I do at Clevedon and I look forward to being their ambassador on the day.

“I’m fortunate our commodore, who proposed me, recognises happy volunteers are an asset, and fosters their development and acknowledgement.”