Richard’s story is an example of where triumph overcomes tragedy. As a young boy Richard had a tragic experience which resulted in his life changing forever. However he did not allow this experience to hold him back and has gone on to live an inspiring and fruitful life. He has been recognised globally for his charity work:
Harry Mc Killop Irish Spirit Award
In May 2008, Richard travelled to Dallas, Texas where he was the recipient of the Harry Mc Killop ‘Irish Spirit Award’. It is awarded annually to a person of Irish or Irish-American descent in recognition of extraordinary acts of humanitarianism benefiting others and their local communities. The purpose is to recognise individuals and to stimulate similar civic spirit among others. The Harry Mc Killop Irish Spirit Award highlights and embodies the significant difference that individuals can make in their community.
Beacon Fellowship Prize
In November 2008 Richard was the recipient of the Beacon Special Prize for his work in founding and directing Children in Crossfire. Richard was just one of six recipients of the 2008 Beacon Prize and joins the ranks of previous Beacon winners such as Sir Bob Geldof, Jamie Oliver and environmentalist, Zac Goldsmith who have all been recognised for their charitable work through what has become known as the ‘Nobel Prize of the charity world’, first coined by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Martyn Lewis, former Chairman of Beacon, said: “Children in Crossfire shows what one man’s drive and commitment can achieve globally. Richard’s work is all the more remarkable given that he himself was blinded at ten years old after a rubber bullet was fired at point blank range in his face. In some, such an event might have left bitterness. In Richard it left a desire to help others and he has done so on an enormous scale.”
Paul Harris Fellowship Award
In May 2010 Richard was the recipient of the ‘Paul Harris Fellowship Award’ the highest honorary award given by the Rotary Association. The award was presented by the president of the Rotary Club of Londonderry at the Presidents Night on 26th May 2010. The Paul Harris Fellowship was established by Rotary International in 1957 and is awarded in recognition for a person’s service to the community both locally and internationally.
In July 2011 Richard was awarded an honorary degree of Doctors of Laws from the University of Ulster for his services to reconciliation and children’s rights.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The All Party Group on International Development, Stormont honoured Richard at the International Development Awards in March 2012 in recognition of his tireless campaigning and work across the globe.
Speaking at the awards, Chair of the All Party Group on International Development Conall McDevitt MLA said; “These are our second international development awards, and form the major part of the All Party Groups’ determination to honour and celebrate local contributions to international development.”
IBAM 2012 ‘Person of the Year’ award
In October 2012 Richard was awarded 'Person of the Year' at the iBAM Festival held in Chicago. The iBAM (Irish Book, Arts and Film) Festival is an annual event organised by the Irish American Heritage Centre which recognises and celebrates the outstanding contribution made by individuals to Irish American culture.
Exemplar of Love and Forgiveness in Governance
In May 2013 Richard was awarded the ‘Exemplar of Love and Forgiveness in Governance’ Award from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George
Mason University, Virginia in recognition of his exemplary work in promoting love and forgiveness in governance.
In August 2015 Richard became a ‘Fellow’ of The Centre for Compassion, Integrity, and Secular Ethics at Life University, Atlanta GA. The centre is dedicated to developing and promoting empirically-based programs that foster the human values most conducive to individual, social and environmental flourishing through research, dialogue, education and community empowerment.
In August 2015 Richard became an Honorary Fellow of the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion, Oxford, UK. The Centre brings together a team of fellows, trustees and patrons who share a sense of the power of compassion to shape human life.
In October 2018 Richard received the Albert Schweitzer’s Leadership for Life Award from the Ireland Chamber of Commerce USA.
In September 2019 Richard was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at the Derry Journal People of the Year awards in Derry, Northern Ireland.