Obituary for Chris Tompkins - RIP
We are greatly saddened to report the passing of Chris Tompkins during February 2021.
Chris started aeromodelling in 1946 while still at school and joined the Oxford Meteor Model Flying Club in 1948 and was then flying free-flight power and later became active in R/C thermal soaring competitions.
He played a major part in establishing BARCS (British Association of Radio Control Soarers) as the special interest group within the BMFA. He was BARCS member No. 4 and held the position of BARCS Chairman for 14 years from 1975 to 1989. Chris also served as the President of BARCS from 1996-1999 and was awarded a Fellowship of BARCS in recognition of his long and loyal service to UK Soaring both as an organizer and active competitor.
The BARCS AGMs were very enthusiastic gatherings of over 120 thermal fliers and it seemed as if all wanted to discuss the various rules. Chris’s steady chairmanship was remarkable as he patiently handled many proposals and their multiple amendments from the floor with all the multiple voting that led to the main BARCS Open rules and eventually forming the basis for the worldwide FAI F3J class.
For the first ever F3J Thermal Soaring World Championships held in 1998 at Upton-on-Seven, Chris served on the organizing committee as Deputy Event Director, Trophies and Master of Ceremonies. Furthermore he also designed and produced the F3J World Championship Trophy (that is still awarded today) plus the other ‘placement awards’ in 1998, a lasting example of Chris’s contribution to international R/C soaring. He was also Chairman of the FACCT (First All Country Competition Team) Club and a member of the Western-on-the-Green club where was on the club rota to mow the grass strip.
For almost 30 years Chris held the position of Area Treasurer of the BMFA South Midlands Area and prior to this he was Area Competition Secretary for a year. In 2012 and at over 80 years old, Chris decided to stand down as South Midland Area Treasurer.
In the same year Chris was nominated for a BMFA award and received the Arthur Mullett Trophy for his long service to model flying in a variety of roles especially to the South Midland Area, to BARCS and to his club. Chris received the award from the BMFA President, Sir Michael Alcock at the Awards Dinner in November 2012.
In later years Chris moved into flying indoor duration classes with his ‘thermal soaring’ friend John Shaw, also well known to the thermal soaring community.
Later he became an enthusiast of model and real steam railways in no less a company than Lord McAlpine enjoying many days at Fawley in Lord McAlpine's estate working on full sized trains and also an ‘O’ grade model railway until eventually he began to suffer from confusion during his final few years.
In his working life from 1957 he was employed in the architectural drawing office in Oxford University.
Chris was a true gentleman of many talents who gave his time and energy in a variety of roles for the betterment of UK and International model flying. We need more like Chris, RIP.
12 March 2021 - Jim Wright FSMAE and additional information from Denis W. Oglesby