Closure of the John Merricks Sailing Trust


John Merricks Sailing Trust Trustees Say Lack of Revenue Due to Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic is One of the Reasons for Decision to Dissolve the Charity

The John Merricks Sailing Trust must be dissolved.

Directors say the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the charity’s current and future income is a major factor in their decision.

The John Merricks Sailing Trust was established to honor the memory of Olympic sailor John Merricks, who died at the age of 27 in a car crash in Italy on October 15, 1997.

John’s love for the sport began at an early age when he learned to sail in school.

He was aided in Olympic success by the support of a local benefactor, and residual funds from the trust will be donated to one or more organizations that can provide a lasting legacy that will further the trust’s goal of helping young people of under 25 to reach their potential through the sport of sailing.

John Merricks and Ian Walker in action in the M. 470 class at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. Credit: Getty

John’s former sailing partner and chairman of the trustees Ian Walker said that thanks to “the generosity of so many people, over the past 25 years the trust has awarded grants totaling £ 730,000 to 285 people and organizations on behalf of John “.

“It funded the purchase of 235 boats and boards for young sailors and gave many young sailors opportunities they might never have had. However, with the time that has passed since John’s death and the effect of the Covid pandemic on the charity’s current and future income, the Trustees have decided that the 25th anniversary of John’s accident, which will have taking place in October 2022, is an appropriate time to wind up the charity and dispose of its remaining assets, ”explained Walker.

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“At this time, we intend to use the remaining assets of the Trust (around £ 200,000) to fund a continuing legacy in honor of John’s name,” he added.

The directors are soliciting nominations from individuals, other smaller charities and sailing organizations who may accept a financial award and provide a legacy in John’s name that will last for at least 10 years.

“We see this as an opportunity to develop exciting and innovative ideas that can further unleash the untapped potential among the country’s young sailors, especially those who would not otherwise have the opportunity to get started or advance in the sport.” , said the association.

“Preference will be given to dinghy or windsurfing initiatives, however, all proposals which correspond to the objectives of the association will be taken into account,” he added.

John Merricks was only 26 when he died in a car crash in Italy on October 15, 1997. Credit: Getty

John Merricks was only 26 when he died in a car crash in Italy on October 15, 1997. Credit: Getty

Those wishing to apply for a financial award should visit the trust website at:

The John Merricks Sailing Trust isn’t the only sailing charity to have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this year, the Gipsy Moth Trust announced it was shutting down due to a lack of funds due to the impact of the pandemic, and would sell Sir Francis Chichester’s legendary 53-foot ketch.

spongy IV was later bought by Peter Tom, the president of the rugby union club, Leicester Tigers, and the owner of the Little Big Hotel group, Ian Walker.

The yacht has been transferred to St Peter Port, Guernsey, where it will be an active tourist attraction and made available to the Guernsey Sailing Trust for educational activities in addition to participating in the island’s sailing schedule.

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