Former mayor of Boston is awarded British Empire Medal

Cllr Richard Austin BEM, pictured with Alison, when he became Bostons 481st Mayor.
Cllr Richard Austin BEM, pictured with Alison, when he became Bostons 481st Mayor.

A Boston borough council was awarded the British Empire Medal in the Queen's Birthday Honours list published today.

Coun Richard Austin was awarded the honour, which l is awarded for “hands-on” service to the local community.

For the past 20 years Richard has been involved in working for the community of Wyberton and Boston.

Cllr Austin, who will be 83 on June 14, arrived in Kirton in 1963 following National Service as an education officer in the RAF. He worked for the Ministry of Agriculture to help farmers increase food production in this country after the war. In 1971 he set up his own successful agricultural consultancy and farm management business, which he ran until his retirement in 2002.

A Boston Borough Council spokesman said: "An early taste of voluntary community work came when, as a member of Wyberton PTA, he made a successful case for an additional classroom at Wyberton Primary School, and once it had been built, Richard joined other members of the community in painting it.

"He then initiated the production of a book to mark the millennium called a History of Wyberton - From the Romans to B&Q. The project began in 1998 and saw Richard assemble a team of writers and researchers. Two thousand books were printed; all were sold and some of the proceeds used to buy a new set of chairs and a sound system for Wyberton Church.

"This was rapidly followed by Richard taking a leading role in the practical arrangements for Wyberton’s Millennium celebrations.

"After retirement in 2002, Richard became a member of Wyberton Parish Council, where he is still a member. A few years later he became a member of Lincolnshire County Council."

He became a member of the borough council in 2007 serving as Leader for four years and still represents Wyberton on the borough council.

"As leader, he was instrumental is setting up a borough-wide team of litter pickers – a scheme which has gone from strength to strength and from which blossomed the borough’s current Community Champions – and championed the annual Big Boston Clean Up, which marked its 12th year this year," the spokesman said.

Richard is also a member of Wyberton Parochial Church Council and until recently was a churchwarden.

He is vice chairman of Boston Woods Trust and has been actively involved since its inception.

He helped to introduce and develop the Boston UK Marathon, of which he is chairman.

In 2015 he was made the 481st Mayor of Boston, having been Mayor’s consort the year before when his wife, Alison, a borough and county councillor, was Mayor. The couple have three children and five grandchildren.

Richard celebrated his 80th birthday with a skydive (a present from Alison and the family!), raising £3,000 for his beloved Boston Woods Trust.

Richard’s honour came out of the blue when he opened an envelope from the Palace, and he said he felt honoured and humbled.

Proud Alison said: “He is known as the person to get the job done. He has a gift for rallying others to the cause and building teams to tackle challenges. He can be very persuasive and is quite tenacious. He never gives in.”

The council spokesman went on: "What really makes Richard Austin stand out as a leader in our community is his ability, through his calm and encouraging personality, to inspire and enable others to do many things within their community they would have otherwise lacked the confidence to do, and this helps to build a stronger cohesive community, bringing people together from all walks of life to put Boston on the map."