A SAILING fanatic has been hailed a maritime hero.
Sunderland Yacht Club member Roy Twelves, has made it through to the finals of a nationwide sailing competition.
Roy, who is in his late 70s, is one of three finalists in the The Old Pulteney Maritime Heroes Awards.
The pensioner was nominated by Sunderland Yacht Club for his outstanding club service and tireless dedication over the years – despite serious illness.
The annual awards scheme was launched by Old Pulteney Single Malt Whisky to reward people in maritime communities who deserve recognition for club service, bravery or sailing achievement.
Now club president, Roy joined Sunderland Yacht Club in 1972 and has held many roles, from flag officer to commodore.
He steered the club through choppy waters after it faced a compulsory purchase order, and led a team to a new, larger home, despite spending six months in hospital in 2008.
David Robson, honorary club secretary, said: “I am absolutely delighted, as are the other members of Sunderland Yacht Club, that Roy has managed to achieve such recognition in the Old Pulteney Maritime Heroes Awards.
“Roy has contributed a great deal to our club, including dedicating thirteen years as Commodore, so when he fell seriously ill last year we were most concerned about him.
“We should never have doubted his resilience and fortitude, upon recovering he came back and soon had his boat in the water and racing.
“Since then he has abseiled for Cancer Research and played a major role in organising our club’s 100th birthday. He always excels himself and we all wish him well.”
Roy, from Ponteland, was presented with a bottle of 17-year-old single malt, a trophy and a £1,000 cheque for his club and will now go on to the competition final.