Princess Anne presents Buckhurst Hill sailing volunteer award for 'exceptional generosity'

Leo Bridger with HRH Princess Anne

Leo Bridger receiving an award for "exceptional generosity" from HRH Princess Anne - Credit: Royal Yachting Association

A Buckhurst Hill sailing volunteer has been presented with a prestigious national award by HRH Princess Anne in recognition of his "exceptional generosity".

Leo Bridger, of King George V Reservoir Sailing Club, in Lea Valley Road, received a Lifetime Commitment Award for showing his long term dedication and commitment to his club at the Royal Yachting Association's (RYA) annual awards on November 19.

HRH the Princess Royal is president of the RYA) grassroots level.

“I have enjoyed sailing at King George SC for many years, and made many friends there over the years," Leo said.

"We are a members’ club whereby a lot of ongoing maintenance is arranged by club council and club members, which I also enjoy.

"I greatly appreciate this award.”

Leo has been a member of the sailing Club for almost 40 years, serving on its council three times, always assuming the roles that require hard graft, commitment and effort.

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Rob Clark, RYA director of sport development, said Leo has saved the club thousands of pounds by completing works to the pontoons and roofs, organising waste removal, isolating a mains water leak, and cleaning and fixing rescue boat engines.

During the lockdown he single-handedly replaced all the changing room doors, repaired toilets, improved shower plumbing and undertook much-needed repairs to the club house changing block.

He quietly undertakes all manner of ‘behind the scenes’ maintenance tasks which keep the club going, "without seeking recognition or reward".

A "first class sailor" Leo shares his extensive knowledge with novice and youth sailors, and he often forgoes his own sailing in order to cover rescue or race officer duties.

"He can be relied upon to step up and help at a moment’s notice. Capable of turning his hand to anything, he always ensures the general safety of all at the club," Rob said.

He added 2021 has been a challenging year. “More than ever volunteers are the backbone of our clubs and the wider boating community, and every single award winner has made an impact by sacrificing their time and expertise so others can enjoy being on the water. It’s a pleasure to recognise their achievements."

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