A MALDON sailor has been presented with a prestigious award by the Princess Royal.

Jonathan Payne, who has been a member of Blackwater Sailing Club for more than 40 years, was handed the award from the Royal Yachting Association at a ceremony in London.

He was presented the award by Princess Anne in recognition of his commitment and services to the club.

Mr Payne said: “My visit to the award presentations was memorable, the day was beautifully organised from our arrival, the AGM, presentations and excellent lunch.

“For the presentation, it was a great honour to receive the certificate from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal.

“It was interesting to meet the other volunteers and amusing to find we were somewhat alike, all doing similar activities at our various clubs.

“Princess Anne had a chat with each of us and it was interesting that she knew the Blackwater, Northey Island in particular, having spent time there in her days as a Girl Guide.

“A much enjoyed day and I am very grateful to the RYA.”

Doug McEwan, a founder member of South Woodham Ferrers Yacht Club, also received an award.

RYA Director of Sport Development, Alistair Dickson added: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport and today has been an excellent opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work these volunteers do.

“The stories behind these special people have been truly inspiring to hear and it’s really an honour to be able to say thank you and celebrate their amazing achievements.”

For more details about Blackwater Sailing Club visit www.blackwatersailingclub.org.uk