James Oliver Turpin was born in 1941. His father, also Jim, and Uncle Olly were members of the club, so it was natural for Jim and his brother Barry to follow suit. Jim later married another member, June Harrow, a member of the successful women’s teams of the late 50’s and early 60’s. One rumour has it that Jim acquired his nickname through getting into scraps and somehow winning them. A more likely explanation given by a close contemporary of his and a fellow trustee is that when he was a baby his Aunty Curly was looking at Jim in his bassinet and he reached up and scratched her in the face to which she responded, “you are a little Tiger aren’t you”.
Jim joined the club in 1955 and passed his ‘Surf Bronze’ the following year. As noted in the Club Centenary book ‘Over the Hill for 100 years’, having been brought up on the beach, he “was a distinctly useful surf swimmer, not to mention competitor. In 1958 he was 1st in Canterbury Junior Ski Rescue with Brian Rattray, in 1959 3rd in Canterbury Junior Surf Race and in 1964 3rd in Canterbury Senior Beltman. He won a place in the South Island Ross Trophy Team in 1959, for the junior inter-island surf relay; He was also in the Canterbury team that year, and again as a senior in 1964. He was also seventh in the national surf race in 1961.”
As Paul Carpinter and Kevin Tutty, authors of ‘Over the Hill’ noted, “Tiger Turpin’s great value to the Club lay in administration and instruction. Duty club captain in 1957-58, he coached club teams between 1959 and 1964 – both juniors and women, and had a 12-year term as treasurer. That coincided with filling roles with both the New Zealand Amateur Swimming Association and the New Zealand Water Polo Board. A vice president of the club from 1972, he had a three-year term as president from 1983. In 2001 he returned as treasurer on the death of brother Barry and has held that role since. In 2014 he became patron following the death of Harry Goldsmith.
Fundraising is another great attribute Jim has and for which the club is hugely indebted to him (and Dave Bradley) for. From Paul Carpinter’s forward thinking in 2002 of establishing financial reserves to assist the club in trying times, Jim and Dave established two trust funds, one based on interest free loans from members from which the trust earned interest and the other from donations and bequests made to the club. Each Trust has a provision that the base capital must be maintained at a level to reflect inflation, otherwise there can be no distribution to the club. Each year grants are made to the club to assist in surf life saving activities.