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RYA Honor Preston Award

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Published 17:35 on 16 Oct 2020

The Honor Preston Award is presented each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution in time, effort, and personal endeavour to increase the inclusivity of boating, in particular, although not limited to, female participation.

BARBARA DARLING

Ripon Sailing Club and National School Sailing Association

Barbara learned to sail in the 1960s at Tynemouth Sailing Club. A secondary school maths teacher she was involved with the early set up of the NSSA and became a Senior Instructor, taking groups sailing locally as well as to the NSSA national regatta events. A competent sailor with meticulous planning skills and a clear vision was a powerful combination. Her home clubs of Ripon Sailing Club, Tynemouth Sailing Club, Bassenthwaite Sailing Club and Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club all benefitted from her enthusiasm, commitment and drive. She helped establish or solidify the training centres, improving standards, continuously looking for funding to upgrade facilities and equipment, increasing opportunities for all members and generally encouraging everyone to be the best they could be. This included taking teams for many years to the NSSA events as well as attending or organising regional activities and club events to increase participation for all. Her long-term association with the NSSA included acting as Treasurer for over 10 years where she focused her energy, streamlining their financial structure and establishing funding routes to provide support to those who needed it so they could attend regional or national events, increasing accessibility for everyone who loved the sport. She regionally set up the North East Youth Traveller Series in the mid-1990s, mirroring the success of the Yorkshire & Humberside Schools (now Youth) Traveller Series she helped start in the 1980s. Across all her involvement in the sailing world, her passion for sailing and the opportunities it presented shone through. Winning wasn't everything, taking part was what mattered, and she offered reassurance and support to the nervous first timer as well as challenge and opportunity to the competent. Her input has helped many achieve competitive results or careers in the sailing world and countless many discover the simple joy of sailing. Her inclusive vision helped young people realise that they can achieve their dreams with hard work, opportunity and encouragement. Barbara's involvement in helping deliver sailing programmes across a wide range of demographic groups stemmed from her interest in people and her passionate belief that everyone deserved a helping hand and the opportunity to flourish, regardless of personal circumstance. Sadly, Barbara passed away shortly before news of the award could be shared with her. The family accepts the award on her behalf in recognition and celebration of her contribution and legacy.


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Last updated 17:46 on 19 October 2020

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