Behind the urban setting of Bartley Green lies a sailing club on the reservoir that many Brummies don’t even know exists.
In many ways it’s a hidden little gem. And inside is an unsung hero who works tirelessly to keep Bartley Green Sailing Club functioning.
She dedicates her spare time to improving the experience offered to young sailors, and organising all the paperwork that is so easily taken for granted.
Step up Lucy Crute Morris – an enthusiastic volunteer who doesn’t get paid for what she does – and who doesn’t even sail herself.
The 43-year-old simply puts in the hours to help others.
She was recently named the Birmingham Partnership RYA OnBoard Volunteer of the Year at the sport’s governing body’s OnBoard Awards.
Modest Lucy admitted she was grateful for the award but the mother-of-two said it was a team effort.
“We’ve got about ten other volunteers who are brilliant, so as much as I’m delighted to get this award, credit must also go to them too,” she said.
“I don’t do it to get recognition but I suppose it feels good when you do.”
In 2007, Lucy started to help organise OnBoard – the RYA’s grassroots scheme – at the club. OnBoard gives youngsters the opportunity to sail and windsurf at a low cost and it is proving to be extremely popular with Birmingham kids.
In the three years since its launch, Bartley SC’s K20 youth training club has proved a massive success.
Every Saturday at least 40 wannabe sailors, aged between eight and 18, take to the waters, with the waiting list for new starters now eclipsing those currently signed up.
They take part in both theory and practical sessions.
Included in the group are Lucy’s two daughters, 15-year-old Abigail and Mollie, aged 12. Talented Abigail is already making huge strides since joining the club and now works as an assistant instructor in the water.
Lucy’s husband Richard is also an instructor at the club, and the pair are both long-serving members.
“I suppose it was my husband’s influence that got me involved because we’ve both been members since 1990,” said Lucy. “It’s a fantastic club. The children love it. And it’s great to see them doing something productive.”
Tom Davenport, the RYA OnBoard development officer presented Lucy with her award last week and and praised her efforts.
“Lucy is the backbone of Bartley SC’s K20 junior sailing club, putting hours of work into organising the administration,” he said. “She keeps the instructors in line and the kids and the parents organised.”
This year, more than 1,500 children enjoyed their first experience of sailing and windsurfing through RYA OnBoard in Birmingham and Worcestershire, while 5,200 have been introduced to the sport since the programme began in the region. Some 48 schools across the region are also now linked with RYA OnBoard. The club has the largest stretch of water in Birmingham, and the highest amount of members on board.
“Many people are surprised at how thriving the club is because we are in the Midlands,” added Lucy. “We’ve got hundreds of boats here but many of them are owned by the members. We’ve got about 40 of our own that we use for training the kids.
“It would be great to get some more, and give all of those on the waiting list the opportunity to sail.
“But we need help through sponsorship to achieve that.”
* If you are able to help, you can contact the club on 0121 477 5872.