Richard Wood was one of most prolific volunteers in the South East, both in terms of the time and effort he invested in the sport. He sadly passed away recently and his loss will be felt by so many young people who benefited from Richard’s tireless work. VC Deal Chairman Ian Ferrell kindly sent us the following tribute in memory of Richard.
In memory of Richard WOOD (b 16/04/55)
Tribute (edited) given at his funeral by Ian Ferrell (Chairman VC Deal) on Thursday 30th May 2013.
Richard died at the relatively young age of 58 years. No age at all, really. Yet during that time he achieved an incredible amount of success in his beloved sport.
His loss is without doubt a very sad moment for cycling, but his departing is a tremendous loss most of all for Steph, his wife, and the family. Our sincere heartfelt condolences are extended to them all. The support received since his death has overwhelmed her and it will be a source of encouragement for her and all the family in the future.
He was a tireless worker for cycling and a stalwart for VC Deal. I looked up the definition of stalwart in the dictionary; ‘uncompromisingly supportive, resolute; one who supports a cause or organisation.’ The word sums him up completely.
He was totally selfless. He did everything for the benefit of others, never himself, even if some could not see it at the time. He had a great ability for nurturing and developing young talent, and no-one I know could match it. He knew what he wanted to do and just got on and did it, after all you only get out what you are prepared to put in.
So, how to sum him up in a sentence? ‘’It is a fitting tribute to him that I cannot name any other cyclist in our part of the country who has consistently and so successfully given so much of his own time to the development of youth and junior riders.’’
I was always struck by his commitment to cycling. His contribution is unparalleled. Yes, we know he loved his mountain biking, his off-road riding, his cyclo-cross, but he was always happy to see that people had actually taken up riding bikes. As simple as that.
He has left a great legacy. Many people owe him an awful lot. He helped many youngsters in their formative years to become proud young men and women, and we all took pleasure in seeing them progress and eventually win their National Championships. His successes at a national level with youngsters he has coached is strikingly impressive.
Wherever his riders ended up, university, moving away to live or work, they never lost their respect for him. He became a Father figure to many who all held him in the greatest regard.
The National Champions he coached comprise: David Williams, Ian Field, Michael Butler, Alex Paton, Max Sykes and Jack Finch.
When you got to know him, you knew he was genuinely kind and sympathetic. We know he was forthright in his views, and that is no bad thing, but he would pay attention and listen to your argument over specific issues. He would often change his mind and was a good clubman to have around. An integral part of VC Deal; a loyal committee member. He was the Treasurer, and Steph the Membership Secretary.
He would be honoured and humbled by the kind words we have read and heard from everyone since his death. He would probably wonder why we had made all this fuss.
One thing is for sure, he would want everyone to get back on their bikes, and he would have been proud to have seen the youngsters racing at Fowlmead last week, to whom he would undoubtedly say ‘do not stop riding because I am no longer here, but carry on and always try to be the best you can.’ He will be with you all the way, probably right behind you, encouraging you on…