A WREXHAM sailing club is celebrating after being shortlisted for a prestigious national award.

It is the second year running that Gresford Sailing Club has been in the spotlight as a finalist in the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Club of the Year Awards, supported by Gallagher.

This year the club has been recognised in the Community category for its commitment to creating welcoming and inclusive opportunities for all.

Pride Youth Games visit Gresford Sailing Club.

Pride Youth Games visit Gresford Sailing Club.

Chief instructor Simon Jones said: "We're only a small inland club with just over 100 members but we do a lot with our local community and our ethos has always been to make the sport as accessible as possible.

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"We're a friendly club for everyone, from juniors and novices up to more experienced sailors, and we're an ideal place to learn because you're never far from the shore, so everyone can get involved and it's a good atmosphere.

"Most of our members live within 10 miles of the club and a lot of people who used to come here when they were children now come along with their own families.

Luminous evening at Gresford Sailing Club.

Luminous evening at Gresford Sailing Club.

"It's absolutely fantastic to be a 'club of the year' finalist again as it helps people to appreciate what we're doing, and it's rewarding to be recognised for our volunteers and members and all those who support us.

"It is a tribute to all our members and volunteers that one of the smallest sailing clubs should be recognised in such a way."

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The overall winners of each category and the Club of the Year title will be announced in a ceremony at the RYA Dinghy & Watersports Show, Farnborough International, on Saturday, February 24.

Mr Jones said 10 club members would be travelling to the awards, adding: "We've had great feedback after becoming a finalist for the second year running and we can only hope. There are four clubs in the Community category and they include a big yacht club on the south coast, but whatever happens we'll enjoy our day!"

Sailability at Gresford Sailing Club.

Sailability at Gresford Sailing Club.

Volunteer-run Gresford SC is located on The Flash on Old Wrexham Road, between Wrexham and Gresford, and has provided low cost and affordable sailing for local people for more than 60 years.

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The club runs both informal sessions and racing, and as an RYA Recognised Training Centre provides courses and activities for all ages. It also offers Sailability for disabled people, stand up paddleboarding, and a model boat section.

The club is RYA OnBoard and RYA Sailability recognised for the quality of its provision for children aged eight-18 and for disabled people.

Pirate Day at Gresford Sailing Club.

Pirate Day at Gresford Sailing Club.

Children enjoy weekly sailing sessions on Friday evenings and there is a Pirate Day each year to celebrate their achievements. In 2023 the club hosted young people participating in the Youth Pride Games in Wrexham, provided RYA courses for school children, and held taster sessions for Scout groups.

In partnership with the All Afloat charity in Wales, the club has three access dinghies to support sailing for people with disabilities, and it has provided opportunities for adults with learning difficulties via the charity Outside Lives.

Members are now looking forward to getting back on the water for the start of the main season in March. The club offers a warm welcome for anyone who would like to find out more about its activities! Visit: www.gresfordsailingclub.com.