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RYA Northern Ireland Congratulates Richard Honeyford on New Post With NI Sports Forum

21st February 2022
Richard Honeyford
Richard Honeyford joined RYANI in 2005 and has served as its chief operating officer since 2017

RYA Northern Ireland’s chief operating officer has announced he will take up a new post with the NI Sports Forum as their executive manager.

Richard Honeyford, who has worked with RYA Northern Ireland for more than 15 years, will take up the new post in May.

Honeyford joined RYANI in 2005 and has been an integral part of the organisation in several roles, including as a coach and then later as a performance manager.

Prior to his time with RYANI, Honeyford gained experience in teaching with North Down & Ards Institute in Bangor, and coached youth squads with Irish Sailing.

He supported international athletes at SailCoach and in more recent years he coached at the London Olympic Games.

Honeyford has also supported Sport Northern Ireland as a coach development mentor and joined the board of the NI Sports Forum in November 2020.

RYANI chair Susan McKnight paid tribute to Honeyford, saying: “Richard has been a key part of RYA Northern Ireland since he joined in 2005.

“As a coach, performance manager and chief operating officer, he has worked tirelessly with dedication and enthusiasm to develop and improve sailing and boating.

“Richard’s calm and diligent manner has helped us through many challenges and his passion and drive has seen our sport grow from strength to strength.

“While we will all miss Richard, we wish him all the very best and we look forward to continuing to work closely with him in his new role.”

Honeyford said: “I have enjoyed more than 15 years working for RYA Northern Ireland and I am proud of what we have achieved as a governing body.

“I am delighted to be joining the Northern Ireland Sports Forum as the executive manager and supporting its members across Northern Ireland.

“The NI Sports Forum has done some outstanding work over recent years and I look forward to continuing this effort in supporting sports, engaging with stakeholders and advocating for the sport and recreation sector.”

NI Sports Forum chair Ashley Hunter said: “I am pleased to welcome Richard as executive manager of the NI Sports Forum.

“Richard brings with him a wealth of experience, not just in the sport and recreation sector but with strong leadership skills and strategic and commercial acumen, Richard is best placed to support the forum in our next phase of work.

“Following a difficult two-year period for the sector, we look forward to supporting our members in their post-COVID recovery plans and advocate on their behalf on a wide range of issues.

“On behalf of the board of the NI Sports Forum, I would like to welcome Richard to the team, and we look forward to working with him.” 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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