Dave and Pauline Nicholson are being honoured with a prestigious award for their outstanding contributions as volunteers with Bassenthwaite Sailing Club and will receive the award from the President of the RYA, HRH The Princess Royal later this month.

Dave says “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”. The citation says they have put in ‘an unparalleled level of effort into ensuring the success of BSC’.

Two weeks before he became Commodore in 2009, Dave heard that the town of Cockermouth was being devastated by floods so with his daughter (and GP14 crew) Sarah he 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.

Serving as Vice Commodore, Commodore and Rear Commodore over a period of six years,  Dave has overseen the famous Bass Week Regatta and many other club activities.

Pauline has seerved as the club’s Hon Secretary for 11 years, supporting the work of five Commodores and overseeing Bass Week.

She has managed 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.

By Richard Hemingway