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Suffolk Success At The Royal Yachting Awards

today6 December 2023 23

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Two men from Suffolk have both been recognised with national lifetime achievement awards.

John Wylson hass been dedicated to the never-ending task of managing and supporting the ex-commercial fishing smack, Excelsior, built in 1921, which he purchased in the early 1980s.

He was instrumental in forming the Excelsior Trust and obtained grant funding for its authentic restoration and the purchase of dedicated boatyard facilities. Everything was replaced above three planks below the waterline.

The Princess Royal recommissioned it as a sail training vessel in 1988. In the past year, the total number of young people taken to sea, often for the first time, has passed 10,000. These, frequently disadvantaged, young people often receive their own enabling grants, which he regularly sources himself. John’s drive and determination, together with his outstanding ability to create links through networking and to persuade the most unlikely contributors, has led to Excelsior passing her century, and being listed as one of the 50 most important historic vessels in the UK.

Excelsior has been his life’s work, and he remains Vice President of the trust, developing youngsters’ seafaring skills and bringing together a wide variety of people.

They received thier awards at a special event in London from the Princess Royal – who is also a patron of The Excelsior Trust in Lowestoft.

John Wylson with the Princess Royal, pictured here by Royal Yachting Association.

Meanwhile, Richard Deller has served as Sailing Secretary and Commodore at Beccles Amateur Sailing Club, offering invaluable help and encouragement in setting up the club’s sailing school.

In his first stint as Commodore from 2007, he addressed the gender diversity on the Committee, helped with fundraising to improve the stock of club boats for young sailors and presented new trophies.

During this period, the club achieved RYA Volvo Champion Club status. Commodore again from 2020-2022, his first action after lockdown was to improve the facilities for young sailors, and persuading a local firm to buy new training sails for all the club Optimists. The fleet of boats with their new rigs made an impact during the Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

Richard’s passion is the club, and his kind nature inspires others. He always offered his services as safety helm and got involved with maintenance and building projects. More recently, even when seriously ill, he has spent hours keeping on top of the grass cutting and cleaning, and encouraging visiting cruisers, making them feel welcome.

Written by: John

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