By Isabel M. Armstrong
The death of a Redditch local politician, Richard Kevin Armstrong, has been announced by his family. Richard was born in 1953, in Birmingham. While living in Birmingham, Richard trained and worked as a manager in the retail trade at George Mason, a large chain of grocery stores at the time. He moved to Redditch in the 1970s, when he met and later married Isabel Cook and they had three children, Paul, Richard, and Amelia.
Richard always loved nature and the natural world, when he was younger, he enjoyed fishing, walking and cycling. Richard was creative and artistic – enjoying taking photos, drawing etc. He even made some of his own furniture and designed and made a puppet house where he entertained his children.
Richard’s early years were far from smooth. Being left-handed and being forced to try to write with his right hand resulted in Richard having a stutter, of which he overcame. He had to contend with dyslexia, but over time yet again his determination made that almost unnoticeable. Richard was a very deep and caring person, putting his passion into helping others – he entered politics as his road to help as many people as possible.
Richard encouraged others to try to reach their true potential, whatever that was to the individual; he was through his actions like an unpaid teacher. He drew from his own passion, as he was never encouraged by his own family he grew up with – especially his mother who would only criticise and knock him. Life’s toll on Richard did mean he lived a full and varied life; enjoying model making, painting collectable figures, and Richard always appreciated the work artists put into their designs.
Richard was a volunteer at League Of Friends, at the Alexandra Hospital and a volunteer at Hospital Radio, but while still a young man in his 30s, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure, he got involved deeper in the community sector, as his opportunities were severely restricted. However, around 50 Richard was diagnosed with diabetes… This debilitating condition took its toll on Richard, who was still very young at heart, though not childish. Eventually Richard’s eyesight deteriorated in his 60s, but he thanked God that once when he was younger he had the opportunity to use his good eyesight for painting small models and figures in 00 scale, right down to small details such as eyes and buttons on their jackets.
Diabetes is cruel, in that it can have tremendous life changing effects to deal with. It slowed Richard down and going out became less and less. He enjoyed making Lego models, but towards the end, even this pleasure meant he needed to use a magnifying glass for checking the right bricks or components. The macular trouble with the eyes also meant some colours close to others could not always be identified properly. Though through his inner strength and determination, Richard never gave up. He felt achievement making Lego models, and his finished models are evidence of his determination to never give up, whatever came towards him!
When younger and campaigning on many issues, Richard was seen by certain people as someone to knock. He endeavoured as did his family the futility and jealousy of idiots, who thought no better than breaking a fence, he paid a lot of money for, or smashing windows! Richard stood in elections for around 20 years; local, county, and general elections. Although he sowed many seeds, he never got elected as a councillor or MP – both positions he could surely have served far better, than some of those elected.
When Richard started on his political road, there were no recycling facilities, no safe zones in shopping centres for families, no wind farms, no solar panels on roofs, and little or no insulation in people’s homes. Although Richard campaigned on issues like these and many others, it took a long time for these things to happen. Now, these things are commonplace, but just to raise awareness to those in public office, brought its own kind of hassle.
Richard saved an Oak tree growing in his garden, not a problem to anyone but a home for countless birds and nature – Trees were here before man, they give us the very air we breathe, but to unintelligent penpushers at council buildings, and some ignorant people, they seem to believe trees are in the way, as the song “The Colours of the Wind” tells us, “…if you cut it down you will never know…” – referring to a tree!
Although Richard lived with health conditions for a good 30 years, these weren’t what ended his earthly life, but something even the doctors didn’t know about, Richard slipped away in his sleep from a gastric ulcer. Richard is survived by his wife and 3 children, 2 daughters-in-law, 1 son-in-law, 7 grandchildren, and 2 step-grandsons.
The League Of Friends at the Alexandra Hospital was one of the charities closest to Richard’s heart. Should any contacts, readers, wish to donate, who couldn’t be more involved because of COVID-19 restrictions, Thomas Brothers who so respectfully, dealt with every aspect of Richard’s funeral, will accept donations to pass on to the League Of Friends. We pay special thanks to Rev. Kate Miers of Mappleborough Green Church, who presided over Richards Funeral, and of course Daniel and Gemma of Westhall Natural Burial Ground, where Richard was laid to rest on October 8th 2020, attended by family and friends, as allowed by COVID-19 restrictions.
May God bless Richard’s soul. xx