University club makes a splash with third consecutive student award

The Wind and Wave Club has been unable to get out on the water much this past year but commodore Iain Walsingham (pictured) and other committee members have been praised for keep the club going throughout the pandemic.

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A student water sports club based in Oban has been named the University of the Highlands and Islands’ best sports club for the third year running.

The Wind and Wave Club won Sports Club of the Year in this year’s Highlands and Islands Students’ Association (HISA) Awards, despite spending limited time on the water because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Club commodore Iain Walsingham and yachting co-ordinator Jamie Rodgers, who both study at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) UHI, were also highly commended in the Above and Beyond – Student Award category.

In the absence of organised sailing competitions in the past year, the club arranged group sailing for members based in Oban, alongside activities run by club partner Oban Sailing Club. There has also been online training and social events, as well as ‘virtual’ races.

Iain, who finishes his BSc Marine Science studies at SAMS UHI this year, said: ‘I was pleasantly surprised to hear we had won the award again and I’m really thankful to all the club members who took the time to keep the club going in really difficult circumstances.

‘It was a real team effort and hopefully I’ve left the club in a position to move onto bigger and better things.

‘We were heavily impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown. With the ability to attend online lectures from home, many of our club members were spread all the way from America to Germany, so we required a big online effort to accommodate everyone.’

During the past year the club was able to access HISA grants to clear all club debts, meaning the Wind and Wave Club now owns its firefly racing dinghies.

An integral aspect of the university calendar, the HISA Awards give recognition to staff and students who dedicate their time to making the institution more diverse and inclusive for everyone.

This year, more than 600 nominations were received with submissions praising staff and students of the University of the Highlands and Islands for their support. The
awards allowed students to nominate in various different categories and entries were judged by a panel consisting of staff, students and student officers from across the university.

The following SAMS UHI students and staff were highly commended in this year’s HISA Awards: Dr Andrew Dale, Most Engaging Video Conference Lecturer; Professor John Howe, Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor; Professor Keith Davidson, Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor; Dr Laura Hobbs, Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor; Dr Michael Ross, Best Research or Dissertation Supervisor; and Ronan Boyle, Most Inspiring Student.