The late Keith Pinder.

The late Keith Pinder: a founder and distinguished member of Sailing Club

Keith Pinder, of Lynn Road, Mullingar, and one of the founders of Mullingar Sailing Club, passed away on December 30 last, 2021. He was predeceased by his beloved wife Jill, and is sadly missed by their children, Mark, Karen, Alan and Gillian.

Keith’s parents came to Ireland in 1932 to open a sweet factory in Dublin. Growing up in Dún Laoghaire, and excitedly taking the mail boat with his parents “home” to Leicester twice a year, Keith developed a keen interest in all things nautical.

When he settled in Mullingar in the 1950s, he began to renew his interest in sailing. He was particularly interested in the amazing network of lakes surrounding Mullingar.

With encouragement from locals, particularly his friend Ivor Fogg, Keith placed a classified advertisement in the Westmeath Examiner in 1964. The advertisement called a meeting for Friday April 24 in Broder’s Hotel (now the Newbury Hotel) asking those interested in setting up a sailing club in Mullingar to attend.

After a couple of further meetings and with great courage and determination, a club and committee were established, with Keith as the club’s initial secretary. By 1965, the club had procured its first GP14 dinghy kits and arranged access to the lake.

Keith, with his daughter Karen as crew, were the first club GP14 crew to sail from Dolan’s shore. Keith recalled sailing to Church Island on a very calm evening and rowing back as the wind dropped.

In his own words, captured in a book produced in 2014 marking 50 years of Mullingar Sailing Club, Keith wrote that within the club, “friendships have been formed, valuable skills and knowledge learned, not only in sailing but also in the demanding task of setting up and running a sailing club”.

He wrote: “Being a part of Mullingar Sailing Club has given me enormous satisfaction. In 1992 I was presented with a Westmeath Sports Award for my services to sailing, something I am very proud of. I am glad I had the opportunity to be one of the people who helped to establish this vibrant club which continues to thrive in Mullingar.”

Keith is remembered by his friends at Mullingar Sailing Club as a gentleman who offered friendship and support to all of those who joined the club, and as a great storyteller with a keen sense of humour.

That Mullingar Sailing Club finds itself in its present good condition, with a healthy and active membership (including Keith’s son, Alan) along with very good facilities, is thanks, in no small part, to the hard work of members like Keith down through the years.