Order of Australia medal for services to sailors with disabilities

Allan Jones OAM
Graeme Adam
Allan Jones, of Newport NSW, has been awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM), General Division, for services to people with disabilities through his work with Sailability NSW and Sailability’s Pittwater branch.

The honour was announced this week by the Commonwealth Government as part of the Australia Day Honours List.

For almost ten years, Allan Jones has devoted himself to developing opportunities for people with disabilities of all ages to participate in recreational and competitive dinghy sailing.

For his own branch, Pittwater, of which he is Commodore, Jones has been responsible for building membership and for securing a fleet of special-purpose dinghies at different locations.

In 1996, Jones and a group of volunteers, with assistance of Pittwater Council, formed Sailability Pittwater and started up club sailing at Winerimmery Bay.

There are now six Australian-designed and built Access 2.3 dinghies sailing off the beach every second weekend. The club also includes a number of enthusiastic sailors from the Spastic Centre.

In addition, Allan Jones has established fleets comprising Access 303 and Access Liberty dinghies competing with Bayview Yacht Racing Association and 2.4 mR class dinghies which race in the open class at Royal Prince Alfred Club.

In conjunction with NSW Department of Community Services, Jones has also set up sailing events for children from local primary school special classes, for young people from respite care groups, and through the DOCs Early Intervention Program.

These events are run from Rowland Reserve, near Newport.

Sailability NSW President Neil Anderson commended Jones for his work: ‘Allan has worked tirelessly to spread the enjoyment of sailing to a wide range of Australians with disabilities.

‘Not only has he performed outstanding service for his own branch, but as registrar of Sailability NSW, he has shared his knowledge and experience across the entire NSW organization.

His achievements extend beyond Australia to Greece and India where he has introduced the Sailability concept.

This honour is well-deserved and a real boost for the Sailability movement.’

For his part, Allan Jones paid tribute to his wife Janice, who has shared much of the responsibility and the heavy workload.

‘Without Jan, I would not been have been able to achieve so much. And the same applies to our hard-working volunteers at Sailability Pittwater, our friends at the Yacht Clubs who have so kindly hosted events and my colleagues on the state committee.’

Sailability NSW is one of eight state or territory organizations under the umbrella of Sailability Australia.

Sailability Australia is represented within Yachting Australia by a committee chaired by former YA President Bruce Dickson and is part of the world-wide Sailability organization.

In NSW alone, there are 22 Sailability branches, each running regular sailing days.

The scope of Sailability and details of each branch’s sailing events can be observed by visiting www.sailability.org