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County Antrim Yacht Club Youth Sailors Win Volunteer Award at RYA NI Awards

18th January 2020
Amy Armstrong and James Corbett at the RYANI Award ceremony Amy Armstrong and James Corbett at the RYANI Award ceremony

Fundraisers at County Antrim Yacht Club won the Young Volunteer of the Year at the RYA Northern Ireland Awards last night in the Queen’s University’s Riddel Hall writes Betty Armstrong.

The century-old CAYC, which lies on the north shore of Belfast Lough, has a Junior Committee to be envied. Since the group’s formation in 2018 it has raised, on behalf of the junior members, £1500.

The committee has reached this total by cleverly coordinating their fund-raising activities, both in-house and within the community, with truly ingenious and powerful ideas. Some of these ideas included creating Christmas presents with a full Production Line, Marketing Team and Sales Department. Some were even bought and posted to Spain! In March of last year, they arranged, through the power of parental contacts, the All Ireland premier of “Maiden” which was screened in the club. Thirty years ago Tracy Edwards’ Maiden, became the first all-female team to sail around the world and into the record books. The Juniors, under the careful lead of CAYC Junior Committee, took control of all ticket sales, marketing and refreshments for the evening. They arranged a VIP Guest for the evening, Professor Louise Dubras, Foundation Dean of the School of Medicine at Ulster University’s Magee Campus in Derry. She was hugely influential in the original Maiden project onboard, her husband also leading the Team Rebuild on both occasions! The evening was a huge success. These are just some examples of their ingenuity.
Of the £1500 raised the Juniors donated last weekend, £500 to a charity which is close to their hearts along with all of the CAYC family, the Friends of the Cancer Centre. This has been largely driven by Junior Vice Captain Hannah Todd who has close links with the charity.

2 CAYCCAYC Junior Captain James Corbett agreeing on the sponsorship deal of CAYC Spring Series 2020, on behalf of all CAYC Juniors, with Commodore Paul Abraham

And after talks with the General Committee, the CAYC Juniors are now main sponsors of this season’s Spring Series after Commodore Paul Abraham accepted their offer of £250. In doing so this not only encourages them to take part in this series by having ownership of it but also gives them a sense of achievement by contributing in a way which they never thought they could.

All of this would not be possible without the enthusiasm of all the Juniors at the club and the co-ordination led by the Junior Captains Amy Armstrong and James Corbett along with the Junior Vice Captains Hannah Todd and Michael Rock.

And a bonus arising from the Junior’s efforts is that the formation of the Junior committee has helped convert the less active into increased participation in club matters as they have become the decision makers.

“And as this has happened in the off-season” Club Race Coach and Committee member Gavin Pollard says “it is more than likely helping increase interest in clubhouse events which they have arranged themselves”.

1 Junior Vice Captain Hannah Todd, presenting Amy from Friend’s of the Cancer Centre with a cheque of £500.

2 CAYC Junior Captain James Corbett agreeing the sponsorship deal of CAYC Spring Series 2020, on behalf of all CAYC Juniors, with Commodore Paul Abraham.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down.

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About the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Northern Ireland 

  • The RYA is the national body for dinghy, yacht and motor cruising, all forms of sail racing, RIBs and sports boats, windsurfing and personal watercraft and a leading representative for inland waterways cruising.
  • The RYA is recognised by Government, the media and opinion formers as the representative body and voice for the activities that it represents. It continually fights for the rights and freedoms of its 112,000 personal members.
  • The RYA has more than 1,500 affiliated clubs and classes, which represent some 350,000 boaters throughout the UK. It is estimated that 4 million people in the UK take part in boating activity annually.
  • The RYA also sets and maintains recognised standards for training for both leisure and commercial boating through a network of more than 2,400 RYA Recognised Training Centres across 58 countries. More than 250,000 people per year complete RYA training courses.
  • The RYA is responsible for one of the UK’s most successful Olympic medal-winning sports. Our coaching and development schemes actively support 800 of our country’s top sailors, from talented juniors to Olympic and World champions.
  • The RYA is committed to promoting all forms of boating and making them accessible to everyone. For more information please visit
  • The Royal Yachting Association Northern Ireland (RYA NI) acts for the RYA in Northern Ireland (NI) and the Chairman of RYA NI is invited to join the Irish Sailing Association (ISA) Policy Review Committee.
  • You can find the RYA Northern Ireland at Sketrick House, GE8, Jubilee Road, Newtownards, BT23 4YH.
  • RYA NI is a company limited by guarantee – Registration number NI 51945
  • Contact RYA NI: Tel: 02891 827154 email: [email protected]



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