Bill Tomlinson, Chairman of Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre, has been awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours for services to the less fortunate in communities across Derbyshire.
Mr Tomlinson said he was “extremely honoured” and that he would continue to work hard for both DCHC and the Rotary Club of Derby, which he has been a member of for 41 years.
He said: “I am extremely honoured and very grateful that I’ve been in a position to be able to work for the benefit of people who often don’t have the best hand in life.
“I’ve been supported by some wonderful people and an extremely capable team down the years at DCHC, both in Skegness and in Derby.”
Mr Tomlinson was born in Derby in 1938 and educated at Bemrose school. After leaving school at 16 and working in the family’s ironmongers and engineers’ merchant business JW Tomlinson and Sons, he signed up for national service in the RAF.
He worked mainly on radar sites across the United Kingdom, but also spent six months in Jordan, based in Amman, before returning to the Friar Gate-based family business, which he and his brother later took over.
In 1975 he became a member and Director of Derby Chamber of Trade and served as president in the late 1970s. He was also a member of the Derby City Conservation Area Planning Advisory Committee, serving as chairman during two of his five years on it.
In 1978 Mr Tomlinson joined the Rotary Club of Derby, and has been an active member ever since, helping raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for good causes. He has held various offices within the organisation, including becoming President in 2014 for a year.
It is through his involvement with Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre, which provides week-long seaside breaks for deserving children across the county at its Centre in Skegness, that he is best known.
He became involved with the charity in 1984 when he was appointed a Trustee. By his own admission, DCHC “got under my skin” and in 2002 he became Chairman, working tirelessly to improve the Centre and offer as many disadvantaged children as possible the chance of a holiday they might never otherwise have.
In 2015, the year before the charity celebrated its 125th year anniversary, DCHC was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and a year later received a visit to the Centre by HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal.
In 2016, Mr Tomlinson was awarded Special Recognition at the Derby Telegraph Community Champions Awards, and a year later was a finalist in the Derby Telegraph Heroes of Derbyshire Awards, in the Special Recognition category.
Last year he was given membership of the Civic Award Club for work with the less fortunate in Derby, by then mayor John Whitby.
The British Empire Medal is awarded for “hands-on” service to the local community.