A BOATING club in County Durham have caused a big splash in the regional world of sport after being shortlisted for a prestigious Royal Yachting Association award but needs the public’s help to land the coveted accolade.

Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club, which arrange a volunteer-run club at Grassholme Reservoir, is celebrating after becoming one of ten finalists from across the whole of the UK for the Yachting Club of the Year Awards 2022.

The awards celebrate the outstanding achievement, and hard work of sailing clubs across the UK and the timing for the community boating club coincides with it heading into its 50th anniversary year.

The Northern Echo: Aerial view of Teesdale Sailing and Watersports.Aerial view of Teesdale Sailing and Watersports.

Selected as a finalist by the awards panel, the club was shortlisted after showing resilience and determination to overcome a series of challenges and build strong foundations for the future.

Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club have battled back from hardship over the last few years.

Remedial work on the dam by Northumbrian Water resulted in three years of low water levels affecting the club, and the Covid pandemic also took its toll on membership.

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However, behind the scenes, the club worked hard to transform its fortunes into a vital opportunity for change, which has seen it not only survive but thrive.

Supported by the water board, a shoreline redevelopment plan provided a new lower level and more accessible boat park with a revamped wider slipway, while member-driven projects have seen the construction of a race office, as well as new storage facilities, additional boats and an increase in the availability of training, including sailing, powerboating, and sessions for children.

Commodore Anthony Tubbs said: “This is a great honour for the club and a just reward for all the hard work put in by members over the last 12 months.

"Our committee and members have rallied round and thrown themselves into several projects that have revitalised the club, created new facilities and increased participation.”

The Northern Echo: Teesdale SWC has a thriving OnBoard club for junior sailors.Teesdale SWC has a thriving OnBoard club for junior sailors.

Since 2019, the club’s membership has trebled to more than 100, and its Royal Yachting Association OnBoard sessions for youth and junior sailors now have around 30 regular attendees - compared to 18 going back just two years ago.

Despite the success of the club in recent history, the water sports club now needs the help of people to vote for them if they have any hope of landing the Yachting Club of the Year Awards 2022.

The Northern Echo: Teesdale SWC are celebrating becoming a club of the year finalist.Teesdale SWC are celebrating becoming a club of the year finalist.

Chief instructor at Teesdale Sailing and Watersports Club, Richard Hewitt, said: “We’re a small friendly club and we’ve had a number of people join us over the last year who’ve seen that Teesdale SWC offers an opportunity to get on the water in a safe environment and in an area of outstanding natural beauty.

"On a sunny day, there isn’t anywhere better and it’s a great place to enjoy getting away from it all.

“In order to get more people out on the water we want to now continue developing our facilities and Club of the Year is a great opportunity to raise awareness about what we do.

"We would love local people and the wider sailing community in the North East to vote for us!”

The Northern Echo: From left to right are Anthony Tubbs Commodore, Dehenna Davison MP, who visited in summer, and Richard Hewitt.From left to right are Anthony Tubbs Commodore, Dehenna Davison MP, who visited in summer, and Richard Hewitt.

Voting for the awards will close on Monday, January 24, 2022, and the winner will be announced at the Royal Yachting Association Dinghy and Watersports Show in Spring. Find out more about Teesdale Sailing & Watersports Club and cast your vote at Royal Yachting Association and Yachts & Yachting Club of the Year.

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