She proved to be a capable sailor when crewing a tall ship to the Netherlands, and now 17-year-old Chelsey Church really has the wind in her sails.

For Chelsey, from Burnham Market, has just won the Cuthbert Award from the Norfolk Boat charity, a prize which includes £1,000 worth of sailing trips.

The charity sponsored a group of young sailors from Wells' Alderman Peel High School, which Chelsey used to attend, giving them a chance to take part in a leg of the Tall Ships Race in July. 

Fakenham & Wells Times: Chelsey Church, second from left, after receiving the award at Wells Quay.Chelsey Church, second from left, after receiving the award at Wells Quay. (Image: Supplied)READ MORE: Mum to give son with 'only a few months' left to live all his Christmases at once

Joining the crew of the Lowestoft fishing smack Excelsior, they sailed from the Suffolk town to Den Helder in the Netherlands and then across to Hartlepool - a 10-day voyage.

Chelsey said she was "thrilled" to have won the honour.

She said: "I’d never even been on a boat before and now I’ve won this award.

READ MORE: All you need to know ahead of the 2024 Cromer New Year's Day Fireworks

"I have been back on other voyages since and also volunteer with the boat maintenance. You never know what you can achieve until you push yourself.

"The Tall Ships sailing trip has ignited a lifelong passion for me and sparked new interests in both sailing and boat maintenance, which I envisage will be a big part of my life in future.

"The trip overall was fantastic."

Fakenham & Wells Times: The tall ship ExcelsiorThe tall ship Excelsior (Image: Supplied)Chelsey was presented the award at Wells Quay by North Norfolk MP Duncan Baker on behalf of the Norfolk Boat charity. 

Charlotte Hathaway, skipper of the Excelsior, said: “Chelsey was always one of the first to volunteer with sail changes at sea and repairs in port.

"On the return journey, when we had two days of rough weather and everyone was seasick, she still appeared on deck to help other watches, either taking the helm when people needed a break or making cups of tea or bringing snacks.”