Lyme Regis: Boat builder Gail McGarva gets royal seal of approval (From Bridport and Lyme Regis News)
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Lyme Regis: Boat builder Gail McGarva gets royal seal of approval
BOAT builder Gail McGarva of Lyme Regis is living proof that it is quite possible to succeed in two very different careers.
And the proof that her second one has been highly successful comes with a Royal seal of approval.
For Gail has just received a highly commended certificate for her outstanding professional accomplishments from Princess Anne.
Gail collected her certificate at Buckingham Palace as part of the annual City & Guilds Prince Philip Medal ceremony but it is not the first time she has met Princess Anne.
Gail won a £13,500 Queen Elizabeth Scholarship in 2009 presented to her by Princess Anne.
Gail was a qualified sign language interpreter, but living on a boat in Bristol changed her life.
Despite her lack of woodworking experience she started repairing her houseboat before a journey to the source of the Thames and discovered a passion for boats.
In 2004, with help from the City & Guilds bursary, she enrolled on a level three boat building, maintenance and support qualification at the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis, completing her course in 2005.
Despite her total lack of formal woodworking skills she won the Marine Federation Trainee of the Year title in 2005 after building a replica of an 1882 Shetland boat, the oldest remaining one of its kind.
Once she had completed her training, she became an instructor at the Lyme academy, before moving on to become an independent boat builder.
Gail said: “It is my great honour to be awarded the Highly Commended Certificate by her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal.
“The City and Guilds bursary award in 2004 opened the door of boat building for me and I have never looked back.
“I am passionate about the building and preserving of traditional wooden boats and the stories they have to tell about our communities and our shores.”