Great organisations are made great because they are made up of great people.  While the volunteers at Sailability Gold Coast make it a great organisation there are a few that have dedicated years to crafting its 20-year heritage.  One of these people is Stan Phillips.

Stan joined Sailability Gold Coast at a time when the organisation was in its infancy.  He, together with his late wife Margaret, offered a lifetime of boating experience especially in sailing.

Naturally at that time Sailability had little in the way of sailing dinghies or procedural documentation to guide volunteers in taking people with disabilities onto the water. Stan produced the first Sailability Gold Coast Manual of Procedures which, with some minor updates, is still in use today.

Stan was very active from the onset helping to rig and prepare the small fleet, engaging the sometimes-self-conscious disabled sailors in bright, friendly and interesting conversation while taking them out onto the Broadwater for an enjoyable hour of sailing each week.  Stan’s day would run from 7.30am in the morning until 2.30pm in the afternoon when he would help de-rig the boats, clean them and safely store them.

On training days, Stan over the years has taught a number of novice volunteers how to sail and he would ensure that volunteers who could sail learned how to sail the “Sailability way” with the clients’ comfort and enjoyment the priority.

When any of the dinghies required maintenance or repairs it was Stan who would often tow the craft to his home and carry out the necessary work in his garage, returning the craft in almost new condition to Sailability.

While dedicating most of his time to Gold Coast Sailability Stan found time to assist establish Sailability Queensland Inc. with the aim of developing a state-wide network of Sailability clubs throughout Queensland.

With focus and commitment, he helped establish no less than 10 Sailability clubs throughout Queensland personally visiting the potential locations, meeting and engaging interested parties and overseeing the establishment of these clubs.  All of this often at his own personal expense.  He organised dinghies, boats, personnel cranes, insurance, equipment and fundraising.  Attaching trailers to his own car he personally delivered much of the equipment throughout Queensland from Gold Coast to Brisbane and north to the Whitsundays.

Stan Phillips is a remarkable man, devoted to assisting those less fortunate than himself to enjoy the thrill and exhilaration of a weekly outing on the water allowing them the freedom to leave their disabilities and cares behind for at least one time each week.

It is estimated that because of Stan’s vision, passion, commitment and tireless effort he has directly helped establish facilities that provide some 300-plus disabled people each week (10,000 trips per annum) the opportunity to sail.

Stan is a life member of Sailability Gold Coast and Sailability Queensland.  He is 89 years of age and embodies all that is a Sailability volunteer.  Well done Stan.

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