A SAILOR and volunteer instructor who has served Delph Sailing Club in Egerton for just under 40 years has been recognised.

John Cronshaw has been honoured with the lifetime commitment accolade at the Royal Yachting Associaton (RYA) Volunteer Awards, which are presented to boating's unsung heroes.

Traditionally, volunteers are invited to an award ceremony in London but most have been sent their accolade by post because of the pandemic.

John said: "Obviously I was very pleased to be notified of the award but didn't really think my contribution was in that category."

It was at the age of eight or nine that he started sailing in a Heron dinghy that his father had built in the lounge of their home.

That was at the Ribble Cruising Club in Lytham.

John went on to become a windsurfer, returning to dinghies after getting married and having children.

He had a Miracle class boat and competed on the national circuit with his children as well as at Delph.

John said: "It is such a good family sport.

"It was particularly good travelling to some of the two-day events and competing together."

An instructor for about 35 years and a race coach, John was a teacher by profession but that did not dint his enthusiasm to pass on the skills and pleasures of sailing to new people.

He is also interested in sailing cruisers, sharing ownership of one that is kept in North Wales.

John also races radio-controlled models at Delph two mornings a week.

As treasurer, he has worked tirelessly to adapt the membership structure and has overseen a modernisation programme that has not only halted a decline but attracted a large increase in new members.

He was instrumental in a recent Sport England bid to buy a modern fleet of Fusion dinghies, and an RYA Foundation grant to buy the club’s first access boat.

It has be said that John is a leader who will not shy away from taking responsibility and will never give up.

Even this, his retirement year, has been spent applying for emergency grants and contingency planning to ensure the club’s survival through the pandemic.

RYA chief executive Sarah Treseder said: “This year more than ever before we have seen our club volunteers come together and work tirelessly to ensure members can continue to sail.

"The generosity and dedication of each of the RYA Volunteer Award recipients is simply outstanding and it’s a pleasure to be able to recognise these winners through this award."