Award presented in honour of sailing stalwart
- Credit: Archant
It is a leading location for water sports in north Suffolk.
Sailing, windsurfing, canoeing, kayaking, rafting and more are among the popular pursuits at Oulton Broad Water Sports Centre (OBWSC).
The centre, based at Nicholas Everitt Park, is an ideal venue for beginners to learn and participate in the safe environment of the Broads.
About 30 years ago, Joe Bell started the Oulton Broad Water Sports Supporters Group within the centre. The group is mostly made up of people who have learned to sail at the OBWSC, who enjoy sailing together socially.
The aim of the group is to assist the centre in the maintenance of the boats in the fleet to enable centre users – mainly children – to always have boats in good condition for sailing. In return for this, the group was offered sailing on a weekly basis during the season as a self-funding unit.
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Last month, a fitting out supper of the Oulton Broad Water Sports Supporters Group was held – with a new award presented in honour of sailing stalwart Mr Bell.
The Joe Bell Memorial Shield was presented for the first time to the group member who had improved their sailing most in the past year – with Debbie Wilkes taking the inaugural honour.
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A group spokesman said: 'Joe was a stalwart of the local sailing scene being an RYA senior instructor, a powerboat instructor and a local mentor. He was also a member of Suffolk Water Sports Steering Committee and, for some time, part-time manager of the Water Sports Centre.
'He was also an integral part of Sailability, the local charity assisting people with disabilities to sail.'
Mr Bell was also honoured with a community award for services to sailing by the Princess Royal, Princess Anne.
Competent sailors wishing to make contact with the group can contact Trevor Ludkin on 07584 253 720.
The centre is now a trading subsidiary of The Ashley School Academy Trust and the supporters group is still running.
'We have an open day on Saturday, May 6 where you are more than welcome to join us and sample the free instruction for water activities that are on offer at the centre, and book for future courses/events,' the spokesman added.
For more information call 01502 587163.