Express & Star

Sailing club stalwarts honoured by royalty

A couple who dedicated 40 years to a Black Country sailing club were honoured with a special award presented by Princess Anne.

Mary Harris, with son Christopher, being presented with an RYA Lifetime Commitment Award from HRH The Princess Royal.

Mary and David Harris, from Penn, have been familiar faces at Himley Hall Sailing Club since 1970, performing various roles over the years.

Sadly Mr Harris died in July, aged 83, a day after finding out he and Mary had been honoured.

Mary was accompanied by her son, Christopher, to collect their Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Lifetime Commitment Award in London on November 24.

The couple joined Himley Hall Sailing Club in 1970 and both served as Commodore, as well as in many other key roles.

Mary was Social Secretary for over 25 years, ran the club catering operation and oversees the organisation of all social events.

She recently retired after 35 years as Secretary of the Training Committee, a role which saw her help with all the administration of the courses run at the club.

David was a co-founder of the club’s sail training section. For more than 40 years he was the club’s Principal Instructor and helped teach thousands of children and adults to learn to sail.

Tettenhall’s Kamila Czartolomna, 17, also picked up a RYA award.

She inspired a group of teenagers to become actively involved at South Staffordshire Sailing Club, based at Gailey.

She said: “I was quite shocked when I found out I’d won, I wasn’t expecting it at all. I do what I do mainly just for fun, I really enjoy doing it. With sailing it’s not just about everyone doing the same thing, you also have powerboating. You can become a part of the club and have a really good time.”

Mr and Mrs Harris and Kamila were nominated by their clubs and selected as winners by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.