Head of Fleetwood Nautical Campus receives prestigious award

The man who heads the world-renowned Fleetwood Nautical Campus has been handed a prestigious award by Princess Anne.

Monday, 19th July 2021, 8:45 am
Capt Neil Atkinson with his award
Capt Neil Atkinson with his award

Captain Neil Atkinson, who is also a relief coxswain and trainer with the RNLI, has received the Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service at a ceremony at Trinity House, London.

The medal is awarded annually by the Merchant Navy to those eligible seafarers who are judged to have made a worthwhile contribution to merchant shipping, its operations, development, personnel, welfare or safety.

The award recognises the huge service Neil has given to the Merchant Navy because of the many courses his campus runs, producing generations of young mariners ready to meet the demands of the global industry.

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Neil with Princess Anne

Neil, 47, from Fleetwood, said he was honoured to receive the award and was delighted to meet the Princess, and added: “Fleetwood Nautical Campus has a fantastic reputation worldwide which has been created by the quality of the team that work within it, it’s not the campus buildings, the simulators, or the pool, it’s the people teaching here making it special.”

He added: "It is good that the maritime industry is recognised, especially during the time of a pandemic.

"We are an island state and without shipping, where would we be in terms of all the vital supplies that come into the country?"

Neil said of Princess Anne: "I have met her before, she came to the reopening of the Campus in 2012.

"She is very knowledgeable and passionate about the maritime industry and you can't help but be impressed by her."

Neil’s association with the Nautical Campus began when he himself was a student in 1989, studying an evening class, before moving onto a cadetship.

Neil learnt his trade on large bulk carriers and later became a captain in the ferry sector before returning to the campus where he is now Head.

While working at sea Neil returned to the campus to continue his education and passed his Master Mariners Certificate of Competency in 2003.

Neil joined Fleetwood RNLI, continuing a traditional link between the service and the campus and RNLI spokesman Ken Harcombe said: “This award is well deserved.

“The RNLI offers him our congratulations.”