Wyberton resident and Councillor, Richard Austin was presented with the British Empire Medal for Services to the Community of Boston by the Lord Lieutenant of Lincolnshire, Mr Toby Dennis.
The ceremony took place in St Leodegar’s Church, Wyberton on Saturday 21 September in front of about fifty well-wishers and family.
Wherever Richard sees that something in the community needs doing, he rises to the challenge and inspires others, leading by example, then building up and empowering teams of volunteers.
Some of his achievements that were recognised included many years’ service as Churchwarden in Wyberton, carrying out duties far over and above what is required.
As a councillor he encouraged Wyberton residents to pick up litter in their own area, which then turned into the Borough-wide Community Champions scheme.
Having been elected as Vice chairman of Boston Woods Trust at its inception in 2001, Richard was the person turned to whenever there were issues in the newly planted Westgate Wood. From this beginning, teams of volunteers now operate regularly maintaining these well used Woods and Country Park.
Whilst serving as Mayor, Richard was approached to see if a Road Marathon could be staged in Boston to complement the now famous Boston Marathon in the USA. Rising to the challenge, Richard brought together a team of volunteers with appropriate skills in time to stage Boston UK’s first road Marathon in April 2016. Now this event has over 1500 runners, backed up by a team of about 150 marshals and other volunteers.
In 1999 Richard felt it appropriate to find a way of marking the millennium in Wyberton. Bringing together a team of local people, he was able to help write and then publish the book From the Romans to B&Q – a history of Wyberton.
All 2000 copies were sold and the profits used to finance several appropriate projects in St Leodegar’s Church and elsewhere in the parish.
History may be repeating itself as in 2018 Richard set about a project to produce and publish a book about Boston and the impact of many its people around the world. This book, Boston – the Small Town with a Big Story was published on 7 September of this year, having involved a team of some 50 contributors, both expert and interested local volunteers, its aim is to help people understand and value their heritage. Profits from the sale of this book will go to support the Shodfriars project.
This was timed to coincide with another of Richard’s initiatives, the staging of a successful symposium entitled An Untold Story, from the Stump to the Statue. This event, which filled Blackfriars theatre, brought in two speakers from the USA to talk about the role that our Boston had played in the founding of the USA.
Will there be another book? Richard is already thinking about how to mark the year 2030, the 400th anniversary of the founding of Boston Massachusetts.