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Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Former Yeadon Sailing Club member honoured with a knighthood for his services to the Royal Navy

Vice Admiral Richard Ibbotson was born and brought up in Rawdon before joining the Navy in 1975 after finishing university. The 56-year-old was honoured with a KBE (Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire ) in the New Year’s Honours List.  Vice Admiral Ibbotson, who is effectively fourth in command of the entire Royal Navy, says he is proud to be the son of a Yorkshire miner and has not forgotten his West Yorkshire roots. He is tremendously honoured and flattered to receive the award and considers it a privilege.

He has had five sea commands during his time with the navy. The most eye-catching was during the Gulf War in 1991 when as commander of the minehunter HMS Hurworth he led his ship through dangerous minefields in the Persian Gulf. The ship cleared safe routes to the Iraqi coast for British and American forces and Vice Admiral Ibbotson was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his work. Whilst commanding this ship he received a renewal of membership letter from Margaret Huskisson who was then the Membership Secretary of Yeadon Sailing Club. Margaret’s letter asked him to confirm the details of his boat and Vice Admiral Ibbotson wrote back to her, much to her surprise giving her full details of the minesweeper. He did however conclude the letter to her by saying that as it was longer than 14’ he wasn't planning on bringing it to the Tarn.

Richard sailed a National 12 with Bill Chadwick for many years.  He was also a great pal of Donald Aklam who is sadly no longer with us.  Richard's last sail at Yeadon was in 2006  when he sailed with Bill in Donald's boat Saskia in the National 12 Open Meeting for the 70th anniversary of the class.  His friends believe it was from sailing National 12's that Richard developed his love of water.

I would like to acknowledge that the initial part of this article appeared in a more detailed form in the Airedale and Wharfedale Observer. 

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