A SAILING instructor whose passion helped him find solace following the death of his mum has been chosen as the runner up of a national award.

George Ford, 15, who works at the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club, was nominated for the Royal Yachting Association’s OnBoard Panerai Trophy earlier this year.

The coveted boating accolade, which is associated with the organisation’s OnBoard programme, honours sailors who have used the pastime to weather difficulties.

George has now been announced as the runner-up as part of this year’s Panerai Trophy, which chief instructor and club coordinator Heidi Wright is thrilled about.

Heidi nominated George to be considered for the accolade after being impressed by the dedication he has shown to the sport over the past year.

She said: “Walton and Frinton Yacht Club training centre is pleased to announce that George Ford was chosen as runner up in the RYA Panerai Trophy

“Having broken my leg this difficult season, he has been of great support to myself during the Covid-19 restrictions and I am truly grateful for this.

“George shows the true spirit of the training centre and we expect many of our current youth sailors to follow in his footsteps.

“He has chosen to give back to the centre that made him who he is today.”

Teaching others how to successfully sail proved vital in being able to deal with the death of his mum Andrea Grainger, 40, to cancer last year.

Andrea had played a pivotal role in helping George establish his love of boating, after she took him to the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club for the first time back in 2012.

His grandad, George Taylor, 69, had also been an avid waterman and encouraged George to take his first sailing lessons, ultimately cementing his love for the sport.

He soon enrolled in the OnBoard programme, making his way through the course’s different stages, which helped him become an instructor and boost his confidence.

“George has shown his courage in continuing with his sailing ambition after sadly losing his mum to cancer,” added Heidi.

“He completed all his sailing courses with the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club and through bereavement he found empowerment in coaching younger sailors.”

Earlier this year, following his initial nomination, George expressed how sailing had helped him while his mum inspiringly battled cancer.

He said: “My mum always told me that if you are doing something you love for a job or a hobby, that is what you can always rely on to get you through tough times.

“I always remembered what she told me, about doing something I love to get through anything.

“And through it all, the diagnosis, the chemotherapy, the surgery and the funeral, I can truly say sailing did exactly that for me.”

George has been now awarded £2500 to allow him to pursue his career in sailing as a result of being the runner-up of the Panerai Trophy

Heidi has also been given an impressive £5000 to spend on improving the Onboard faculties at the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club.