Crowds come out for IYRS summer gala

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A record crowd of 700 guests attended the International Yacht Restoration School's annual summer gala last weekend.

Sponsored by U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management and Lexus, sailing personalities, local arts and cultural figures, state and government officials, marine-industry leaders and IYRS fans helped the school raise $600,000 for educational programs and scholarships.

"The event was a huge success, with the help of our sponsors and all our supporters," said Nancy Hazlehurst Deutsch, who co-chaired the event with her father Tom Hazlehurst and her son Alex Hazlehurst Hood, in a statement. "More people now understand the work that IYRS does - and together they are building a great momentum of support behind the school and helping to make this event a highlight of Newport's summer."

A portion of the evening was reserved to honor the contributions of maritime artist and IYRS co-founder John Mecray. After a film tribute produced by Gary Jobson, a surprised Mecray took the stage to be recognized by his peers.

"John has provided important leadership at key inflection moments in the school's history, such as when IYRS decided to de-access the expensive restoration of Coronet in favor of growing the school," IYRS president Terry Nathan said in a statement. "That took great courage and vision, which the board took from John."

The 14th annual IYRS summer gala will take place July 9, 2011.

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