A local sailor is to be presented with a prestigious award for his lifetime contribution as a volunteer with Bassenthwaite Sailing Club. He will receive the award from the President of the RYA, HRH the Princess Royal later this month.
Mark Somerville was nominated for the Lifetime Commitment Award by the club and selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel. The presentation will be at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony in London on 16 November..
Mark said he was “absolutely overwhelmed” when he received notification of the award. “I thought there would be a lot of other members who would receive recognition before me because the club is a big family unit and that has helped me along the way”.
His parents were members of the club when Mark was a youngster and he started by crewing in dinghies with a number of people before having a regular role as crew in a Mirror dinghy for another club member, aged eight. After that he sailed single-handers such as Toppers and Lasers. He commented:”I really enjoy sailing. I have sailed at a lot of places but in the Lakes it is simply the best. Add racing to it and it is top notch.”
At the age of 16, he took on his first officer role with the club, becoming Assistant Sailing Secretary, responsible for handling all the entries for the club’s biggest annual event – Bass Week. In those days it was all done on paper with Mark having to send out all the receipts and bank the money. He did that for five years.
He took a break from being on Council (the club’s committee) but eventually returned to take responsibility for grounds and jetties – a job that ran from managing the grass cutting to flagpole maintenance.
After that he became Vice-Commodore, Commodore and then Rear Commodore, spending two years in each job according to the club’s succession planning policy. The first of those jobs brought him back into handling Bass Week, managing nine days of racing involving 200 boats and ten nights of socials for the 300 visitors.
Twice he has played a leading role in the response to and recovery from major flooding of the site.That has ranged from donning a dry suit to rescue members’ boats to overseeing the remediation planning.
The citation says ‘Mark is a magnifcent ambassador for the club and sailing, admirably generous with his time. He has shown exceptional and unfaltering commitment to the club, its members and the sport.’
For more information about how to get out on the water in the North West region visit www.rya.org.uk/go/startboating.