Prestigious awards from Princess Anne for dedicated club sailors

Roger Tolman, one of two High Peak sailors who are to receive awards from Princess Anne.
Roger Tolman, one of two High Peak sailors who are to receive awards from Princess Anne.

Sailors from High Peak are to receive two of the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) most prestigious awards from its celebrated president, Princess Anne.

Jane Thorpe, of Toddbrook Sailing Club in Whaley Bridge, will collect an outstanding contribution award for her significant work as a volunteer.

And Roger Tolman, of Glossop Sailing Club, is to be handed a lifetime commitment award for showing exceptional dedication to his club.

Both sailors, who live in Marple, near Stockport, will be honoured by Princess Anne at the RYA’s annual awards ceremony, to be held in London on Friday, November 24.

Jane, who is 60, was actually taught to sail by Roger at the Glossop club when she was 42. But she joined Toddbrook so her family could cycle along the canal to the club and has been a driving force behind its rejuvenation as an inclusive, family-friendly organisation where sailing is affordable and open to all. She has also played a key role in fundraising for Toddbrook’s new clubhouse and helping it become an RYA training centre.

She said: “When we first joined Toddbrook, there was no youth section, so we raised funds to buy six dinghies, recruited juniors and ran a summer youth programme. We wanted to make sailing available for all families, with access to club boats. I am hoping my six-month-old grandson Alex will join Toddbrook in the future.”

Roger, who is 74, has had a hugely positive influence at Glossop, where his visionary development plan led to it becoming an inclusive, community-based club. As its senior instructor and RYA training principal, he has shown unswerving support and encouragement to nurturing sailors of all abilities.

He said: “The sport has given me challenges, a healthy life and tremendous social activity. I get a great kick seeing youngsters gain confidence, learn skills and develop. Most importantly, my fellow volunteers have shared my enthusiasm, and we have made waves together.”