Roger Sutton

Isle of Wight High Sheriff presents awards to Cowes Sailability Club members and volunteers

Pictured left to right: Tristan Woods, John Spalding, Dawn Haig-Thomas, Mark Ross, Mary Bradley and Roger Sutton

Cowes Sailability Club would like to congratulate Tristan Woods, Belinda Huby, Mary Bradley John Spalding, Mark Ross and Tony Steadman, who are the worthy winners of this year’s Achievement Awards.  The charity gives out awards annually to recognise the dedication, enthusiasm and accomplishments of volunteers and members, both on and off the water.

The 2023 Achievement Awards were presented by Isle of Wight High Sheriff Dawn Haig-Thomas at the Cowes Sailability Club Christmas Party on 4th December.  Over 60 members and volunteers attended this festive event, which enabled volunteers, members with disabilities and their families to socialise and have fun in a welcoming and friendly environment.

Speaking after the award presentation, Dawn said: “I’d like to thank Cowes Sailability for the amazing work which they do for our disabled community.  An excursion out on the Solent can be the highlight of the week or even year for one of the members.  The care and support of the volunteers is second to none and I thank all who support this worthy cause.”

Tristan Woods was excited to receive the Member Sailing Award 2023 from Dawn.  He was nominated for the award for his enthusiasm and the progress he has made with helming since joining Cowes Sailability Club.  Belinda Huby was announced as the winner of the Most Improved Sailor Award 2023, having overcome the challenges of her disability to become a very capable and cheerful sailor during the course of this season.

John Spalding and Mark Ross were the joint recipients of Volunteer Sailing Awards 2023. Together they have helmed, crewed and maintained Cowes Sailability Club’s new Drascombe Longboat this year, enabling the club to offer more spaces for people with disabilities to try sailing. 

Mary Bradley was the deserving winner of the Onshore Volunteer Award 2023.  As Bookings Coordinator, she has brought a great deal of efficiency to the club’s booking processes and provided invaluable help with grant applications and fundraising activities. 


During the event, Cowes Sailability Club’s Commodore, Roger Sutton, took the opportunity to thank the many other volunteers and organisations that have supported the charity throughout the year.  In particular, he thanked Chris and Mike Bull who organised the event and Sally Cass from the Duke of York pub, who cooked the delicious food. 

There was a great deal of laughter throughout the evening, with a quiz and a hotly contested limerick competition.  Volunteer Tony Steadman received Cowes Sailability Club’s ‘Guinness Award’ for his humorous attempt to make Roger more authoritative with a homemade metal megaphone.  A small gift, a personalised mug, was also given to Roger in thanks for everything he has done this year as Commodore. 

The next social event is the Cowes Sailability Club Winter Social, which will take place on 15th January 2023 at Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club from 1.30 until 3.30 pm, with a fun quiz, music, a small raffle, tea and cake.  The Club’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place this year on 29th January at Cowes Corinthian Yacht Club at 2pm.  Everyone welcome.