The Evans family have kindly written about some of Helen Evans contributions to both RLSC and also the wider specific Topper and sailing world. We are so grateful for what she achieved, may she rest in peace.
Helen joined RLSC in 1981 with husband Alan, and teenage sons Gary and Pete, prior to this they were members at Stanley Pool. The family joined with an Enterprise having sold their GP14 because the acceptable boats policy in force at the time at RLSC restricted boats members could sail, e.g. Ent, Nat 12, Merlin, Laser and Mirror. The family soon settled in and were part of the work parties that built the first extension, regulars at club socials and attended Abersoch in the early years
Racing in the 1980’s was very competitive within the fleets. Helen and Alan gradually worked their way up to the middle of the fleet, sailing against the likes of the Burnhams, Whittakers, Couches, Harts. The marriage mug was hotly contested. During this period the Enterprise fleet often provided over 20 boats on a Sunday, plus 15 National 12s most of which were sailed by families. Helen, Alan and the family were active supporters of Southport 24 hour race sleeping in cars and camping in the dunes.
Helen became Topper Class Association Secretary in 1982, organising the Open and travellers circuit as well as the Inland and National Championships. She was also Editor and Distributer of the class magazine (Topper Times) and ran the office. In 1984 she organised a Topper meeting at Rudyard and called on her friends in the class to attend including the current and past Inland and National Champions.
In time Helen became Secretary to the World Class Association Topper class organising World Championships in among other places Finland, Dubai, Carnac, Lake Garda and Austria
Helen was active with the RLSC social committee and was organiser of two annual dinner dances (Lion and Swan and Rudyard) as well as working in the galley and painting the gents changing room every year on work parties. In addition to her work and family Helen was also involved in the Stoke branch of the RNLI.
1990’s – Helen and Alan sold the Enterprise, left Rudyard and bought a yacht
2000’s – The Evans’s re-joined RLSC, including granddaughter Lucy. They were now allowed to join with and sail GP 14’s. Helen retired from sailing but continued with her Topper work, supporting the club in many ways, shore duties at Southport, socials and developing hot meals on Wednesday evenings as a social event. The Evans’s awning at Abersoch became famous for its parties and holds the family record for 17 sitting down to dinner under one awning. Some of the jokes, singing and dancing could get a bit out of hand.
Helen always had a passion for developing young people from her days as a cub scout leader through to the many peoples lives she touched in her 30 years working with Toppers.
No more so than her grandchildren Lucy who went on to be Commodore of Portsmouth University Sailing Club and Toby who entered Abersoch Keel Boat Week this year. Helen would be proud to see young people still racing Toppers at Rudyard and her legacy lives on in the success of the Topper class as an RYA youth class, an international racing class, and a successful training boat.
Alan and the family would like to thank all for their cards, letters, text messages, emails, kind words and also for those who came to show their respects at the funeral. She was described by many as a very special lady and will be dearly missed.