A servicewoman from Wensleydale has been awarded one of the Navy’s highest accolades after being named "Fleet Air Arm Sailor of the Year" for her work in supporting families through tragedy.

Petty Officer Holly Sadler has been praised for her professionalism and dedication as she helped three families following the deaths of loved ones who were members of the Fleet Air Arm.

Based at Yoevilton, 33-year-old Holly was presented with the award by Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse, the Royal Navy’s Director of Force Generation.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Holly, from Thoralby, near Leyburn, attended West Burton Primary and Wensleydale Secondary School before joining the Royal Navy in 2012.  She spent nearly a decade as an ops room warfare specialist, serving in frigates HMS Montrose and Somerset, then passing on her knowledge to fellow sailors at HMS Collingwood and supporting training in Fleet Operational Support.

In 2021 she changed careers and joined the Royal Navy’s Family and People Support arm, relocating to Yeovilton as one of two specialist welfare workers on the air base.

Royal Navy welfare specialists provide support services which strengthen and enhance the resilience and resourcefulness of Naval service personnel, their families and communities.

This can range from providing a safe space and listening ear to shipmates experiencing personal challenges, through to guiding families to help available if they are struggling with specific issues and playing a key role when there is a death in service.

Rear Admiral Moorhouse said the citation for Holly for the title of sailor of the year was peppered with phrases such as "professionalism and dedication shone through," "simply superb", "brilliant" and "dedication, compassion, and self-sacrifice". 

He said her work has required the senior rating to draw upon all of her capacity and demonstrate considerable resilience and resourcefulness working in direct support to families facing the most challenging of circumstances.

He added: "Routinely spending time away from her own young family, she has worked to ensure the highest standards of service delivery at times when it is needed most.

"Holly demonstrated exemplary compassion, empathy and selflessness, to ensure the individuals and their families received a level of support far beyond what would ordinarily be expected."