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The RHYC founded the Woolverstone Project in 1993, the year of the Club’s 150th Anniversary. The Project was the brainchild of the then Commodore Mrs. Margaret Howard.
“There should be”, she said, “an organisation within the Club which would provide facilities for sailing for any person with any disability whatsoever, be it physical or sensory. Its creation will also be a memorable way to mark the Anniversary.”
Because the Project found it necessary a year later to become a registered charity, it was not able to remain as a sub committee of the RHYC, and so was elected as an associate Member.
The first trustees were all members of the RHYC. Lord Belstead the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk became its first Patron. He was an experienced and respected Dragon sailor and a member of the Aldeborough Yacht Club.
The Woolverstone Project has subsequently gone from strength to strength, providing sailing for the disabled from the RHYC and at Alton Water. The Project was honoured with a visit from HRH The Princess Royal at the RHYC in 1999, and in 2003 was proud to receive the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award for its services to the community through voluntary work in providing sailing facilities to those with all forms of disability. Members received the award from HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh at Buckingham Palace. Johnty Dickinson, an original Trustee and tireless worker for the Project was created an MBE in 2004 for his work.
That it is such a success in its field is a worthy tribute to those RHYC members who conceived the idea and had the drive to establish it in 1993. The Club takes great pride in these achievements and continues to support the Woolverstone Project in its dedication to those who would otherwise be unable to go sailing.