A chat with the Queen
RYA Performance Director and Racing Manager John Derbyshire picked up his OBE for services to sport from the Queen yesterday (Tuesday 13 April) in an investiture ceremony held at Windsor Castle.
The 54-year-old from Emsworth began working with the RYA as a coach in 1984, attending the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games as coach to the single-handed classes.
Derbyshire was the Olympic Manager for Sailing from 1996 to 2000 and managed the British sailing team at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, which brought home three gold and two silver medals making sailing Great Britain’s most successful sport. From 1994 to 2000, he was Ben Ainslie’s personal coach, with Ainslie going on to win gold in the Laser class at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.
Following the Sydney Games, Derbyshire was appointed as the RYA’s Performance Director/Racing Manager, where he oversees the running of the Junior, Youth and Olympic Classes Programmes that are the envy of the world.
More recently in 2004 and 2008, John was elected as Chair of UK Sport’s Performance Directors’ Forum where he now plays a pivotal role in the development of world class sport across the UK, not just that of sailing.
He commented; “It was really quite an overwhelming occasion. Windsor Castle was a fantastic venue and it was great to meet so many other people also picking up their awards.
“It was a very proud moment to receive the award on behalf of the sport and all those people who have put so much time and effort in particularly the sailors.”
On his dialogue with the Queen he said: “We chatted a bit about Weymouth and Portland as she visited last year, but she remarked ‘didn’t my daughter pop down there last week’ referring to HRH the Princess Royal’s visit to our Youth National Championships and new facility there; it was quite funny really and great to talk to her.”
RYA CEO Sarah Treseder said: “This is a thoroughly deserved honour. I am absolutely delighted that John has received public recognition of his extraordinary contribution to British sailing and World Class sport over many years.
“He has determinedly and very effectively pushed for ever greater success from our British sailors through his guidance of the RYA’s World Class Programme, and is now sharing his expertise with other sports through his chairmanship of the Performance Directors’ Forum.
“John continues to be an inspiration for a generation of sailors and colleagues at the RYA and beyond; it makes us very proud to see him awarded an OBE for his work,” she concluded.