A TALENTED sailor is in the running for a national award which celebrates young people who have used sailing to overcome adversity.

George Ford, 15, who is part of the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club, has been nominated for the Royal Yachting Association’s OnBoard Panerai Trophy.

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

George was first taken to the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club by his mum, Andrea Grainger, back in 2012, which is when he truly discovered his passion for sailing.

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

He soon enrolled in the OnBoard programme, smoothly making his way through the course’s different stages, which helped boost his confidence.

George’s world was rocked, however, when his mum died at the start of last summer, aged 40, but sailing continued to help provide him with a degree of solace.

“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,” he said.

“Sadly, three years ago she was diagnosed with cancer and last year she passed away.

“But 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.”

Heidi Wright, who is the chief instructor and co-ordinator for the club’s OnBoard programme, has been part of George’s journey since he first stepped on a boat.

She has since encouraged him to lead some of the club’s OnBoard teaching sessions which she says have helped him thrive following his mum’s death.

Seeing his dedication to the sport first-hand, especially during times of such hardship, encouraged her to put him forward as part of the shortlist for the trophy.

“It’s an amazing thing to be put up for such a big award,” added George, who attends The Boswells School, in Chelmsford.

“All I had to do is something I love with all my heart.”

The Royal Yachting Association award winners will be announced at a ceremony in October.