Tireless volunteer up for a Belper honour

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A dedicated volunteer who has ploughed huge amounts of time and effort into improving Belper for the benefit of others is the latest nominee for our New Year’s Honours.

Richard Fletcher has devoted himself to improving community life as a volunteer since being made redundant in October 2011 after an 18-year career with the Co-operative Banking Group.

Rather than being dispirited at his misfortune, he saw the job loss as an opportunity to expand on his existing charitable and community work and began to pursue ways he could support Belper through voluntary work.

Since then, he has been made a friend of the Royal School for the Deaf in 2011, the first non-parent in their history and supports them with fundraising ideas as well as raising funds himself with three Great North Walks – a feat in itself as he has rheumatoid arthritis.

Richard is also an active Befriender for Amber Valley CVS and visits an elderly person each week at their home to provide companionship and support.

He has devoted over 320 hours as a Community Representative to the Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Air Ambulance this year alone.

As an Derwent Valley Mills Ambassador for Tourism he introduces visitors to the richness of Belper’s Heritage. and is working his way up to being a volunteer Tour Guide for Belper Derwent Valley Visitor Centre at NorthMill in Belper.

Richard has also completed the Asdan Community Volunteering Qualification and is a Derbyshire VCI passport holder awaiting a placement, where he will mentor a child in care aged between eight and 16.

His wife and nominator, Julie Fletcher, said: “Richard is a hero, he gives so much of himself to the community, but still has time for his family and neighbours.

“Richard deserves the odd pat on the back, and I would love for his efforts to be recognised in this way.”