Michael Wigley with the Princess Royal

A Lichfield sailor has seen his 35-year career recognised by the Princess Royal.

Michael Wigley was given the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious award for his commitment to improving British boating.

Michael Wigley with the Princess Royal
Having first got involved in boating governance by joining the committee of his home sailing club, Sutton SC, in 1975, Michael held the post of Royal Yachting Association (RYA) Honorary Treasurer from 2004 to 2011.

During this time he chaired two of the most important projects in recent RYA history.

First was the building of RYA Portland House for use by Britain’s sailors as their London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic training and Games base. He then chaired the Governance Review Working Party in 2011, which culminated in a fundamental re-think of how the RYA should be managed in the 21st Century.

He said: “I’ve made a huge time and emotional commitment to the sport that has given me so much on and off the water. It is my passion for safeguarding the future of the sport in the face of ever-changing legislative, regulatory and financial challenges that has driven me.

“Governance matters should never overshadow our primary function to protect and manage the sport and I was fortunate to have been involved in one of the most exciting periods in the RYA’s history, during which the organisation’s annual turnover doubled.

“I have enjoyed playing an integral role in shaping the next phase of the sport’s evolution, and giving a new generation of British boaters the chance to enjoy the sport, and everything it offers, as much as I have done, and still do.”

Michael, who was first introduced to sailing age nine on father’s cabin cruiser on the River Avon at Tewkesbury in 1953, was won of 56 award winners who enjoyed a celebratory lunch with the Princess Royal and received a medallion and certificate.

Sarah Treseder, RYA chief executive, added: “The RYA is delighted to make this award in recognition of Michael’s enthusiasm, promotion of our sport and many years’ contribution to the national and West Midlands’ boating scene.”


Founder of Lichfield Live and editor of the site.