YOUNG Denton sailors and windsurfers can have chance to follow in the wake of a local girl and win a prestigious national award.
Nicola Stockdale won the Royal Yachting Association’s Panerai Challenger Trophy in 2018 for her work in the area.
Now the deadline is looming for people to be put forward for the 2019 honour.
The joint initiative between Italian watchmaker Panerai and RYA OnBoard aims to promote the power of sailing in positively impacting young people’s lives, awarding funding grants to young individuals that have overcome physical, economic or social challenges to achieve significant milestones in their sailing or windsurfing.
Nicola, now 19-years-old, was crowned the overall winner of the inaugural trophy in 2018 after developing her teaching skills, volunteering as an instructor and devoting more than 500 hours to her local club, Debdale Outdoor Activity Centre (DOAC) at Debdale Park on Denton’s doorstep.
The club won £10,000 to purchase new equipment that further supports junior sailors or windsurfers and the Audenshaw student won a grant of £5,000 to continue her development in sailing, windsurfing or more broadly within the marine industry.
“It’s opened so many doors, I’ve met so many people at all the events, and the grant money has meant I can now get the qualifications I need, whereas before I probably wouldn’t have been able to pay for them,” explained Nicola.
Denton children have plenty of opportunity to take to the water at DOAC as it provides multi-activity clubs in school holidays, where kids can take part in sailing, windsurfing, kayaking and canoeing, as well as climbing, cycling and problem solving tasks.
On Saturday mornings, it runs a junior club for people aged from seven-years-old to 18-years-old from 9am til noon. No experience is required – all you need is swimwear and that all-important towel.
DOAC Principal Martin Ware said of Nicola’s win: “Not only did Nicola win but she won £10,000 for the centre, which for a deprived, inner-city area was absolutely phenomenal. With that money, we’ve been able to buy two race-ready Toppers and seven windsurfing sails.
“It’s worth nominating, it gives the children a lift, you get to know them, understand them and more importantly you get to know their background.
“We don’t know when children come along on a Saturday morning what they’ve gone through in life, or what their home-life is like – just looking at Nicola, the boost she’s got has been absolutely amazing.”
All the Panerai Challenge Trophy finalists will be invited to enjoy a day out on beautiful classic yacht Eilean, followed by an awards dinner in London.
Nominations close on Monday, April 1. For more information about the award, selection criteria and the nomination process visit www.rya.org.uk/panerai.