Corinthian members will know of Liz Chowienczyk as one of the dedicated band of Otter trainers but may not realise that her weekend training activities are similar to a busman's holiday, for she is also a regular volunteer at the AHOY Centre at Deptford where she encourages disabled sailors to sail on the Thames tidal waters.
We know of this because Liz was nominated for an RYA Outstanding Contribution Community Award which she received from HRH The Princess Royal, President of the RYA, at their London headquarters on the 28th November.
For the past three years Liz has been a key volunteer at AHOY, a registered charitable organisation that exists to make it possible for underprivileged and disabled people to venture onto the water.
In order to do this safely, Liz has had to gain the training and qualifications: RYA Dinghy Instructor, Powerboat Instructor and Safety Boat Officer and she can drive the mini-bus!
Liz took on the 'Sailability' project, forming a team to explore and promote the notion of sailing for the disabled, enabling the AHOY Centre to acquire boats suitable for its disabled visitors, some of whom are wheelchair users or have visual impairment. She spends so long at the Centre that many of the visitors mistake her for a member of the staff...
There is another worthwhile strand to the Centre's activities. Some of the volunteers arrive via Community Service orders and are themselves transformed by their gradual involvement as they train to qualify themselves to instruct the visitors.
Jackie Bennetts, Volunteer Officer, RYA, said,"Occasions like this allow us to fully recognise and celebrate the continuous hard work these people put in to our sport, many of which often go unnoticed - they really are the unsung heroes."
Well-deserved congratulations to Liz!
Discover how AHOY works by clicking on the links under the thumbnails on the right.