In front of a 150-strong crowd of sailing peers, two of Ocean Youth Trust Scotland's volunteers' achievements were recognised at a special dinner during RYA Scotland's Big Weekend at sportscotland National Centre Inverclyde on Saturday 23rd February.
From different ends of the country and different ages too, Peta Koczy from Inverness scooped the Young Volunteer of the Year Award and minutes later Malcolm MacArthur from Inverkip received an honorary Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Pictures courtesy of Rob Eyton-Jones
(Pictured Left: Peta Koczy on her prize beanbag with Luke Patience,sponsor Scottish Sailing’s Duncan Hepplewhite. The beanbag is made from one of Patience’s 470 sails, a sail from the GB Paralympic sailing team and a sail donated by Scottish Sailing.)
(Pictured Right: Inverkip’s Malcolm McArthur with London Olympics silver medallist Luke Patience)
Peta, 18, originally wanted to train to become a chef but cast off those ideas to run away to sea, joining Ocean Youth Trust Scotland's Skippership Scheme. (supported by a Trinity House Bursary through ASTO). For a year Peta volunteered full-time, clocking up 6,000 sea miles on 45 youth voyages, two crossings of Biscay and a foray to the Faroes. For the last few months Peta has been living in Largs and working to refit the sail training charity's three vessels so that they are ship-shape for the 2013 sailing season, including a group of 24 Largs Academy pupils.
Malcolm, a retired physician and RYA Examiner has dedicated 35 years voluntary service to Ocean Youth Trust Scotland and its predecessor Ocean Youth Club. He became a Skipper in 2002 and has worked tirelessly to lead voyages, teach young people how to sail, encourage volunteers to progress up the ranks and, as the current Chairman, to direct the charity's onshore activities. Like the charity's boats, Malcolm is a well-kent face in the Yacht Haven. He knows Scottish coastal waters very well and has regularly ventured much further afield around Europe and made four trans-Atlantic crossings on his own boat.
OYT Scotland Chief Executive and Largs resident, Nick Fleming said, "I am absolutely delighted that two of our volunteers have been recognised in this way for all their hard work and dedication. Four years ago Malcolm was made a Fellow of Youthlink Scotland in recognition of many years' work with young people. This new award recognises his amazing commitment and contribution to the work of OYT Scotland and the wider sailing community. He really is an inspiration to all our volunteers who are the life-blood of the organisation. Peta is one of our up and coming stars and we will have high hopes that she will pass out as a First Mate on one of our 70 foot sail training vessels in the near future"