Three members of Cove Sailing Club have been recognised for their voluntary efforts at a UK-wide awards ceremony.

Husband and wife John and Arlene McNeilage and young instructor Claire Watson were invited to the Royal Yachting Association’s (RYA) Volunteer Awards in London earlier this month after being put forward by their club.

The members were presented with their awards by the RYA’s patron, the Princess Royal.

Commodore Wells Grogan said: “It’s a real accolade that a small club like us up in Cove can rub shoulders with some of the bigger clubs in Scotland and across the UK. We were extremely chuffed.”

John and Arlene were awarded the Lifetime Commitment Award for their services to the club, with their involvement spanning more than two decades.

Arlene has run the cadet training scheme for more than 20 years, with John having been involved at the club since he was a boy.

He previously held the position of Commodore, during which time he pushed for the planning of and spearheaded the fundraising for a new clubhouse.

Despite usually only bestowing this award upon individuals, the RYA made an exception and awarded the pair as a family.

Wells said: “It’s really quite sweet. They’ve both been quite active within the club and Arlene has been a principal instructor for teaching our youth cadets.

“John has been quite instrumental in his role as an officer in the club, but also just in promoting with enthusiasm and keeping the club maintained.”

Claire, who has been involved at the club since she was eight-years-old, won the Young Volunteer Award for her work with the Cove cadets, as well as her support for charity Autism on the Water.

The 22-year-old has supported the organisation’s founder, helping to give young people and their families the opportunity to sail.

Wells added: “To begin with, she did this of her own initiative, but then she came back and started to get the club involved.

“We participated with her in getting young people from the Helensburgh, Cove, and Kilcreggan out.”

Cove Sailing Club is open to new members. To get involved, go to