Northamptonshire sailors receive top awards from HRH the Princess Royal

Mike Pipes, from Hollowell Sailing Club was awarded with an Outstanding Contribution Award.
Mike Pipes, from Hollowell Sailing Club was awarded with an Outstanding Contribution Award.

Two Northamptonshire sailors were presented with two of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards by HRH the Princess Royal, President of the RYA, at the organisation’s annual awards ceremony at London’s One Great George Street on Friday November 23.

Middle Nene Sailing Club stalwart, Tim Tomlinson, was awarded with a Lifetime Commitment Award, while Hollowell Sailing Club’s, Mike Pipes, was awarded with an Outstanding Contribution Award.

Middle Nene Sailing Club member, Tim Tomlinson, received a Lifetime Commitment Award

Middle Nene Sailing Club member, Tim Tomlinson, received a Lifetime Commitment Award

The pair were nominated for their awards by their sailing clubs and selected as winners by the awards panel.

Having first learned to sail as a young teenager in Nene One Design at Middle Nene SC in 1953, Tim has been a tireless ambassador for sailing at the club and in the region. Through his relentless personal commitment he has ensured the club is managed and run effectively and helped encourage countless people to participate in the sport.

Always willing to pass on his extensive knowledge to others to prepare, repair or improve their boats to get them on the water enjoying and getting the best out of their sailing, Tim is always approachable. If you need advice or to get something repaired he is your man, if you broke it Tim could, would and will fix it.

Meanwhile, Mike, who first learned to sail at Hollowell SC in the mid-90s, has played a huge role in the club’s development and facility improvement especially over the past five years, enabling the club to attract more newcomers each year and getting more people out on the water more often. His influence has come from leading, mobilising and motivating a wide number of volunteers to work in a common direction.

His strategic vision and energy has been invaluable in the renovation of large sections of the clubhouse, to create a space that is welcoming for all, and helping to update much of the club’s equipment and boats to ensure they are safe and fit for purpose. Mike has also put a great amount of effort into developing the RYA OnBoard section of the club, which has increased family memberships as well as getting more young people sailing.

Tim said: “I’ve enjoyed 60 years of an absorbing hobby through sailing, racing, boat design and building, repair and maintenance. I consider my biggest contribution to the sport to be the 47 years I’ve served on various Middle Nene SC committees, including 21 years as the Membership Secretary. I also served on Midland area and national committees of the National 12 class Dinghy Owner’s Association and as a class measurer. I regard sailing as a very complete sport. It is physical and mentally stimulating, with a lasting lifetime social and friendship-making aspect. It is very nice to have my contribution recognised in this way.”

Mike said: “It’s a bit overwhelming to have won this award. After project managing the reconstruction of our changing rooms, a group of us continued to go to the club on Thursdays to maintain the premises. We’re called the ‘Wrinklies’! It’s been a lot of fun for us and our contribution is clearly appreciated by our own members and visitors. Sailing has given me a great sporting interest and a new set of good friends. It’s a great team sport and yet you can do your own thing as well. Sailors are a great bunch of people to be with and the breadth of experience for individuals range from just learning right up to Olympic standard for some of our more able members.”

Tim and Mike, along with the other RYA Award winners, were presented with a commemorative medallion and certificate each.

Sarah Treseder, RYA chief executive said: “The RYA is delighted to make this award in recognition of Tim and Mike’s enthusiasm, promotion of our sport and many years’ contribution to the East Midlands’ boating scene. The 56 RYA winners are an inspiration to us all and it is my pleasure to recognise and celebrate their hard work and dedication.”