A Royal Appointment for North West Projects Employee
Dave Nicholson, Principal Electrical Engineer at North West Projects Westlakes office and his wife Pauline were both celebrating last month after receiving one of the Royal Yachting Association’s most prestigious awards from HRH The Princess Royal, President of the RYA.
Both leading members of Bassenthwaite Sailing Club, theirs was among 58 awards presented in recognition of boating’s most dedicated volunteers.
Pauline and Dave were selected as a winners by the RYA Honours and Awards Panel because of their outstanding contribution to the success of the sailing club.
“We were absolutely stunned when we were told of the RYA Volunteer Award, because our work at the club is just a labour of love. There must be many others in the club more deserving,” said Dave.
The citation says: ‘Pauline was Honorary Secretary for 11 years, supporting and administering business for five Commodores, and overseeing regatta week, two National School Sailing Association regattas and numerous major championships held at the club.
‘She has also served as the club’s Safeguarding Officer for the past seven years.
‘Dave has served as Vice Commodore, Commodore and Rear Commodore for six years, and brought his industrial management expertise to the roles, successfully overseeing the Bassweek Regatta and leading club activities.
An example of Dave’s dedication came just two weeks before he became Commodore in 2009; having heard that the town of Cockermouth was being devastated by floods, he along with his daughter (and GP14 crew) Sarah, set off to the sailing club to collect one of the safety boats to help in rescues. He found the main road blocked off by police but managed to work his way by back roads to the club – only to find the lake had risen 4 metres and the sheds containing the safety boats under water themselves. Dave and Sarah donned dry suits and swam from the main entrance across to the clubhouse, which stands on higher ground, to do what they could to lessen the effects.
As chairman of the Grounds and Jetties Committee, much of the clean-up work fell to Dave and his team of volunteers. He had personal experience of recovery from flooding after his own home had suffered previously. He introduced a remediation plan for the club and his hard work and attention to detail led to successful applications for ﬂood recovery grants as well as dealing with insurance matters.
In 2015 he was to face a repeat experience when Storm Desmond devastated the area with its floods.
RYA Director of Sport Development Alistair Dickson explains: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our sport. This has been an excellent opportunity to celebrate the fantastic work our volunteers do to support boating activity in all forms throughout the UK.
“All of the stories behind these special people have been truly inspiring to hear and it’s really an honour to be able to say thank you and celebrate their amazing achievements.”