On Friday 24th November at the Royal Yachting Association’s Annual Awards Ceremony, Chris Williams OBE was presented with the 2017 Francis Elkin Award recognising his work as founder and Chairman of The Gwennili Trust, a voluntary organisation which provides offshore crewing opportunities for people of all ages with disabilities.
The Francis Elkin Award is presented each year to an individual who has made a significant contribution in time, effort and personal endeavour to enable people with disabilities to become involved in sailing. Chris was selected as a winner by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel.
Chris is the founder and Chairman of Cobseo member the Gwennili Trust, a voluntary organisation which has been providing offshore crewing opportunities for people of all ages with disabilities since 1995. He has invested huge amounts of his own time and money in encouraging organisations to take advantage of the trust’s facilities and supporting UK-wide events, and is a very active fundraiser for the trust.
Through Chris’s leadership, the Trust has contributed to training disabled sailors for several high-profile sailing events in recent years, including transatlantic races, the Fastnet and Cowes Week. It participates in the Round the Island Race annually, and a catamaran chartered by Gwennili with a disabled crew, including one sailor in a wheelchair, won its class in 2016.