North East solicitor wins gold at world sailing championships
16th May, 2023
One of our Employment Partners has won a global sailing championship for an unprecedented fifth time.
Graham Vials, who grew up in Darlington and lives in Wylam, is a partner in the Education and Employment teams here at Ward Hadaway. He completed the race with sailing partner Chris Turner, who owns Ovington Boats.
The Flying Fifteen World Championship, a biannual worldwide competition celebrated its 44th year with 2023’s race taking place in Australia. With each championship, approximately 80 boats representing a variety of nations take part. This year, 20 boats and sailing teams represented the UK.
Graham has sailed competitively from a very young age, and he was part of the British sailing squad as a young adult. During his mid-twenties Graham decided to stop sailing full time to focus on his training contract here at Ward Hadaway. He has been at the firm since he started as a trainee in 2007 and, now a partner, Graham continues to compete in global sailing competitions. Since he joined the firm, Graham has won The Flying Fifteen World Championship five times.
Graham Vials said: “Sailing has been a lifelong passion of mine and I’m incredibly grateful for the support Ward Hadaway provides to enable me to invest in the sport. When competing, it requires a lot of dedication to training and I also have to take annual leave at very specific times and dates. However, this is doable as I know when I’m away, the team have my client work covered and I can fully switch off and focus on the race ahead.
“Following my passion has been beneficial for my day job too as it’s a great networking opportunity and I’ve met so many different kinds of people through sailing of which a few are now Ward Hadaway clients. I am truly grateful for such a supportive working environment as the firm has enabled me to develop a rewarding legal career whilst still being able to enjoy my passion for sailing.”
Wellbeing is a key value at Ward Hadaway and the firm has worked hard in creating its people-focused strategy, developing a transparent and progressive structure where career development and personal wellbeing are both prioritised.
Martin Hulls, managing partner, said: “At Ward Hadaway, we want to provide a nurturing and supportive environment where our people can grow and develop both personally and professionally. Individual development, health and a sustainable work/life balance are key pillars in our firm-wide people strategy that we’re continually developing to suit the needs of the business and our people. As a firm, we’re extremely proud of our people’s achievements away from their day job. Huge congratulations to Graham for winning the global championship for an impressive fifth time.”
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