Bill Tomlinson, The DCHC chairman and a man who has dedicated the last 20 years of his life to supporting the deserving children of Derbyshire, has announced he is standing down as Chairman.
Bill joined the charity as a trustee in 1984 and became Chairman since 2002.
He will be succeeded by Alan Grimadell, who joined the board of trustees in November last year and will take over as Chairman on August 1st. Bill will remain a trustee.
Bill who was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year Honours for services to the less fortunate in communities across Derbyshire, said: “The 36 years I have given to the children of Derbyshire through the Charity has also given me so much in my life.
“To have the opportunity of endeavouring to bring some respite, together with a sense opportunity, to those children from the County who have holidayed at the Centre in Skegness has given me fulfilment in my life that would otherwise have been absent.
“It has been a privilege to have been able to do so. I know that Alan will broaden those opportunities for the charity over the coming decades.”
Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre opened in 1891 and provides a five-day holiday for disadvantaged children across Derbyshire at its specialist seaside centre in Skegness. Affectionately known to many who have holidayed there as Skeggy Home, for many of the children it is their first holiday and the first time they will see the sea.
It has played a vital role in the lives of tens of thousands of young people but now faces a future of unprecedented challenges having been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. Relying solely on public donations to operate, it cannot plan to re-open its doors until 2021.
Mr Grimadell paid tribute to Mr Tomlinson and said he was becoming the Chairman of the DCHC at a time of change.
He said: “Bill has done a truly outstanding job and has given so much of himself to the charity and the welfare of young children right across Derbyshire. It was his decision to stand down, he deserves every plaudit and credit he receives, as well as a long and happy retirement.
“This is a challenging but exciting time for us all and I’m very much looking forward to that challenge. We are desperate to open again but more than ever we need the support of people across Derbyshire to back what is such a long-established and well thought-of charity; one that has helped thousands and thousands of children.
“We have a team of incredibly hard-working staff and volunteers who are doing everything they can to protect the future of the Centre and we look forward to a time when we can once again support the most deserving children of Derbyshire.”
Mr Tomlinson has steered DCHC through some of its most successful times. In 2015 the charity celebrated 125 years and was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service. A year later HRH Princess Anne, the Princess Royal visited the Skegness holiday centre meeting the children, staff, and supporters.
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 Derby Civic Award Club for work with the less fortunate in Derby, by then mayor John Whitby. In the Queen’s New year’s Honours list the was awarded a BEM
However, the Centre was forced to close in March after the coronavirus outbreak and faces a tough time ahead as it seeks to reopen next year.