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Young Sailors Participate in RYA Northern Ireland's Youth Forum

1st October 2021
Enthusiastic young sailors at the first meeting of RYA Northern Ireland's Youth Forum at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough
Enthusiastic young sailors at the first meeting of RYA Northern Ireland's Youth Forum at Ballyholme Yacht Club on Belfast Lough

A group of enthusiastic young sailors have come together for the first meeting of RYA Northern Ireland's Youth Forum at Ballyholme Yacht Club.

RYA Northern Ireland identified youth engagement as a key area for the organisation, and this strand of work was carried forward by former Chair of RYA Northern Ireland, Jackie Patton. The Forum began in 2019 as a pilot project, and following its success, it has now been officially launched.

The first of its kind within RYA, youth representatives from clubs across Northern Ireland will work together as part of the organisation to help drive the sport forward whilst developing their leadership and personal skills.

At the meeting, the new participants and junior leaders were confirmed, and the group took part in ice breakers, as well as discussing their goals for the year ahead. Olympians Ryan Seaton and his wife Jena Mai Seaton also joined the group online for a Q&A session about their career and future plans.

RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum Co-ordinator Jackie Patton is leading the Youth Forum. She said: "It is a delight to work with such an enthusiastic and dedicated group of young people on the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum. They are our future leaders and will ensure our sport carries on for many years, and I am confident we are in safe hands. It is fantastic to hear all of their ideas and plans, and I look forward to seeing these come to fruition over the course of the next year."

Susan McKnight, Chair of RYA Northern Ireland, said: "The RYA Northern Ireland Board was delighted to continue the RYA Northern Ireland Youth Forum this year.

"The voice of young people in our sport is paramount alongside the current committees, clubs and participants to help develop and progress the organisation."

The full list of new participants and junior leaders is included below:

New participants:

  • Louise Leonard (Carrickfergus Sailing Club)
  • George Turkington (Coleraine Yacht Club)
  • Emily Dickson (Donaghadee Sailing Club)
  • Lara Killen (East Down Yacht Club)
  • Matthew Loughlin (Coleraine Yacht Club)
  • Rose Kelly (East Down Yacht Club)

Junior Leaders

  • Charlie O'Malley (Donaghadee Sailing Club)
  • Cody Halliday (Strangford Lough Yacht Club)
  • Autumn Halliday (Strangford Lough Yacht Club)
  • Charlotte Eadie (Donaghadee Sailing Club and Ballyholme Yacht Club)
  • Caitlyn Eadie (Donaghadee Sailing Club and Ballyholme Yacht Club)
  • Holly McConnell (County Antrim Yacht Club) Team

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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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