Get to know stalwart Neal Hill

by RYA 
Neal Hill and HRH the Princess Royal
Mr. Neal Hill has been the Hon. Secretary of the North East Region for more than twenty years serving under every Chairman. Practical as well as professional, Neal has been a huge support to all the Chairmen he has worked with over the years. He has been instrumental in obtaining speakers and venues for the regions conferences, a challenging, but invaluable role. He has always represented the RYA positively when visiting clubs and organisations and is keen to support the RYA at conferences across Europe. Neal never misses the opportunity to explain how much the RYA can do for the individual and club alike.

In 2012 Neal was presented with a RYA Regional Award, one of the RYA’s most prestigious awards. The award was presented by HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA at the organisation’s annual Volunteer Awards ceremony held at London’s One Great George Street.

Neal Hill was nominated for his award by the RYA North East Regional Committee and was selected as a winner by the Awards panel for his service to the Region over the past twenty years.

As Project Engineer at Blyth Power Station until its closure in the mid 1990s, Neal is committed to the protection of the marine environment.

'As well as my work with the Region, I have served on the RYA Planning and Environment Committee and the European Boating Association Environment Committee. We all have a shared responsibility to look after the sea and its environment and I like to see all boaters using the sea and its resources in a responsible way.'

Neal is the region’s coastal protection officer, a job he takes very seriously. As well as his role on the committee Neal has also been involved with the RYA’s Green Blue initiative, is Chairman of the Coastal Navigation Panel and sits on the Legal and Government Affairs Committee.

The Regional Planning and Environmental Co-ordinator. (RPEC) is appointed by RYA at Hamble to help it deal with regional planning and environmental matters. In this role Neal works closely with the Planning and Environmental team, acting as their eyes and ears within the region and helping them to engage with and feed into relevant local issues. The RPEC must be a members or the Regional committee. One of the key elements of the RPEC role is to co-ordinate local feedback in relation to proposed works in the marine environment that has the potential to impact on recreational boating activity. On behalf of the RYA we contact local clubs and training centres to make them aware of the proposals and seek their views on potential impacts on their activities. Feedback on proposed works focusses on rights of navigation, navigational safety, and boating amenity.

The recently renamed Coastal Navigations Panel (CNP) has on it representatives of each of the Regions and Home Countries. Some of the current issues being addressed are:

• The impact of wind farms and wave and tidal energy on cruising.
• The continued availability of marine fuel; red diesel.
• Carriage and disposal of pyrotechnic flares
• Safety matters; kill cords, life jackets etc.
• Marine Conservation Zones.
• The levying of light dues on recreational craft.
• The impact of the recent Marine Navigation Act 2013 on boating activities.

Neal sits on this panel representing the Region and is currently Chairman of it. In this role he also sits on the main policy making body the Legal and Government Affairs Committee.

Many will have seen the Harrison Butler designed cutter, 'Naiad', which Neal has sailed for the past thirty eight years. For much of this time Naiad was based at Amble. A few years ago he based her in the West of Scotland and she is currently berthed near Oban.

'Neal is a hugely supportive member of the RYA NE Committee and many other RYA Committees nationally and previously internationally,' said Steve Gibbon, Chairman of the RYA NE Committee. 'Without volunteers like Neal, our sport would be much poorer and the RYA would not be held in such high esteem.'

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