We were honoured to welcome the Mayor of Thurrock, Cllr Sue Shinnick, as guest dignatory at our 75th anniversary award ceremony.
The mayor handed out awards to all deserving members who have excelled on the water this year, but also let slip she had some sailing experience herself. We look forward to welcoming her back.
A full list of prizewinners and photos of their presentations can be found on our 2021 results page.
The mayors speech is recorded below:
It gives me great please to congratulate Thurrock Yacht Club on the conclusion of another successful sailing season in Grays, and to recognise those who have excelled on the water during a remarkable year for your club.
For this has been a tough year for everybody. The catastrophic health crisis we have endured serves to remind us of the value that organisations like Thurrock Yacht Club bring to their members and their community.
The fact that despite a late start to your season you managed to race almost every Thursday evening during Summer, was not only great fun for your members – the sight of sails on the river would have provided a fantastic pick-me-up to all of those who observed it from the shore whilst taking an evening walk along the sea wall.
Your participation in the T100 festival brought more joy and colour to the Thames as we emerged from lockdown. Who will forget the sound of drums and cheering as your boast performed a ceremonial sail past of Grays beach before starting your race, which I am told was for the Mayors Cup. And there was more colour when you raised the flags of the Windrush nations on the Gull light.
It is 75 years since Thurrock Yacht Club was formed, and as you celebrate it is worth reflecting on the world you find yourselves today.
Thurrock is one of the fastest growing boroughs in the country, but as a community we face some challenges. It is a sad fact that we have some of the lowest levels of physical activity in Essex. This not only impacts the physical health of our people, but it can also have an impact on mental health and social cohesion. An active place is a happy place.
Also in those 75 years much of our historic maritime industry has disappeared. However as is often the case loss can lead to opportunity, and the clearance of industrial premises has opened up the Thames foreshore, allowing the people of Grays to connect with their river in a way they have never been able to do before.
And that is why Thurrock Yacht Club is so important. Your sport creates a direct link between the town and the river.
Your boats on their moorings, and the Gull light on your foreshore are local icons that you and the surrounding community can take pride in.
You bring value to Thurrock as an institution that has deep roots in our community, with so many of you being local residents.
You are an organisation that encourages activity across all age groups and demonstrates to the rest of us that our Thames can be a place to come and have fun.
As we look forward to the next 75 years it is heartening to see your club expanding into new activities, including dinghy sailing which will allow you to bring your sport and passion to even more people in Thurrock – whether as new members to your club or simply observing from the shore, and please never lose sight of the fact that you are possibly the most observable of all spectator sports in Thurrock
To those of you who have won races this year – well done, bask in the glow from the silver.
To those of you who joined in but didn’t triumph – keep trying. Sport is all about participation, learning and improving, and it may be your year next year.
But to all of you, regardless of whether you race or not, please continue to have fun on the Thames. It brings joy to us all and that is the true reward.