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Sailing Fan Richard, 100, Charts Course to Former Yacht Club

A 100-year-old former sailor has been reunited with the historic yacht club he was a member of for 40 years.

Richard Robinson said he had a ‘wonderful time’ after his Lymington care home, Colten Care’s Court Lodge, arranged for him to enjoy a coffee morning and lunch at the nearby Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

Richard, who turned 100 in autumn 2023, joined the club in 1981, using it for much of the next four decades as a base for sailing his 26-foot Griffon boat Celtic.

He told carers and companions at Court Lodge of his wish to revisit the club and rekindle some long-standing contacts.

Staff at the home contacted club officials and arranged for Richard to spend half a day on a trip hosted by historian Graham Clarke.

The pair, joined by several other members, spent hours talking about their shared love of fun on the water and Richard’s memories of club life including the Royal Lymington Cup and the town’s regatta.

One anecdote Richard shared involved a personal encounter with royalty. After explaining that his sailing years around the world were far more about pleasure than competition, he said: “I used to sail Danish boats and one day I got a phone call. It was Prince Philip! And so I ended up teaching him how to sail.”

Richard also prompted much interest when he said his grandfather used to run a Dinky Toy factory in France, where he was born, and he was one of the first children to receive the scale model vehicle toys to play with.

Later in life, Richard went on to work for the factory making a range of Dinky Toy products including cars, trains and railway trackside accessories. As well as speaking French and English, he also learned Danish and Arabic.

Historian Graham said: “What a pleasure it was to see Richard back at the ‘Royal’, where members were fascinated to hear his anecdotes, not just of his time as a member but also from his century of memories.

“We pride ourselves on welcoming visitors, and never more so than when they have such interesting history of their own.”

Court Lodge Companionship Team Leader Julia Puia said: “Richard took a very active part in the morning gathering. The members found him very interesting to talk to and they had lots of history and reflections on sailing in common.

“Although he was born in France, Richard has loved living in Lymington over the years and the visit brought back many happy memories for him.”

Expressing his gratitude for the trip, Richard said: “I really do appreciate the time involved to organise this and take me there. I had a wonderful time.”

Renowned as a base for yachting, dinghy sailing and motor boating, the club was officially founded in 1922, the year before Richard was born.

It traces its origins back to being the Lymington River Sailing Club, which was established in 1914 but suspended during the First World War.

Richard’s visit ended with a follow-up invitation for him to visit the club once again in September.





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