Pilkington Sailing Club to merge with Wigan counterparts

Neil Hornby (left) with Andrew Melding
Neil Hornby (left) with Andrew Melding

Two North West sailing clubs are set to merge as Wigan Sailing Club and Pilkington Sailing Club have agreed to combine as Wigan and St Helens Sailing Club (WiSH SC).


The merger is to be finalised in 2020 after remaining formalities are completed.

Paul Sheppard from Pilkington SC.receives the trophy after the club won the West Lancashire Sailing Club 24-hour race on the Marine Lake at Southport,

Paul Sheppard from Pilkington SC.receives the trophy after the club won the West Lancashire Sailing Club 24-hour race on the Marine Lake at Southport,

Wigan SC was formed 51 years ago and is based at Scotman's Flash and Pilkington SC is 62 years old, being based at Eccleston Mere, St Helens since 1960.

The move has been brought about because of growing pressures on Pilkington SC, including massive increases in rental, imposed by new landlords who bought Eccleston Mere from the Pilkington glass-making company five years ago.

At the time the club had been negotiating to take over the lake themselves but were told it had been sold.

Leading members of the Pilkington SC committee visited other local clubs in search of a solution.

At Wigan they were met by Neil Hornby who promptly invited them into the clubhouse for a coffee and chat.

Neil asked the club what had happened with its landlord and promptly responded with: "Would you consider a merger?"

That led to more meetings and plans began to develop.

"We chatted to them and asked about their vision and realised that as a club they are just the same as us. They have different faces and names but we fit together very well," said Neil.

When the talks got to formal proposals, Wigan’s Extraordinary General Meeting voted unanimously to merge.

For Pilkington SC Commodore Andrew Melding, the future has become more positive.

He said: "The welcome was almost unbelievable. After two meetings we realised that the future lay with a bigger club, with bigger water and better sailing.

"We have really only been discussing the merger since January so we have made enormous progress.

"The new plan will continue to supply sailing to the St Helens community just as Pilkington has done."

Pilkington Sailing Club have now held their special meeting to endorse the merger.

Fittingly on Sunday, September 15, the club won the trophy they had donated to the West Lancashire Sailing Club 24-hour race on the Marine Lake at Southport, sailing under their old name for the last time.