AN award-winning sailor from Rutland who helped to get windsurfing recognised as an official sport has been honoured by the Queen.
Richard Langford, 63, of St Mary’s Close, Edith Weston, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list for his services to sailing and windsurfing.
He said: “I got a letter a couple of months ago with an official stamp on it and was slightly concerned that it was a tax bill.
“The letter said that I had been selected for an award and I had to read it twice and pick myself up off the ceiling!
“I’ve managed to keep it secret from everyone except my wife Irene.”
Richard, has been chairman of the Royal Yachting Association since 2007, and has been heavily involved in Team GB and its preparations for the London Olympics in 2012.
He started sailing when he was eight-years-old and lived in Nottingham. He learned to sail on the River Trent, and went on to compete in a number of events.
He said: “Sailing is always attracted me and I have enjoyed the sailing, the people and being outdoors.
“I enjoy sailing both at home and abroad.”
Richard joined the Royal Yachting Association in the 1970s and after persuading it to adopt windsurfing as a sport was elected chairman of the sport.
He moved to Rutland nine years ago, is a member of Rutland Sailing Club in Edith Weston and works in yacht insurance.
He said: “Always mix business with pleasure if you can!
“Rutland Water was one of the main attractions of moving to the area and it’s right on our doorstep in Edith Weston.”
Richard’s three sons Jonathan, 43, Dominic, 39, and Edward, 18, and daughter Anna, 36, were among the people to find out about their father’s success last week.
He said: “It was very hard to keep it a secret.
“The next step will be to wait for another official letter to tell me when I can go to London to receive my award from a member of the Royal family.”
Richard hopes to be involved in the Olympics as a supporter.