Tributes have been pouring in after the sudden death of Richard Greenwood MBE DL who was found dead after a shooting incident.
Only last year, Mr Greenwood and his wife Pen celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary at their home at Stone Hall, at the heart of the family’s 3,500-acre Balcombe Estate.
Mr Greenwood was well-know for running the estate’s shoot but his activities had been compromised by two major operations for cancer over the last two years. Recently, he had been told his cancer had returned.
Simon Greenwood, the elder of two sons and eldest of four children, said it was increasingly clear that his father did not have long to live.
On behalf of the family he said: “Knowing that he was terminally ill and what he faced over the next few weeks, he decided to take his own life while he still could. His family were shocked when it happened but knowing what he faced, quite understand his decision.”
There will be a service to celebrate his life at St Mary’s Church, Balcombe, on Thursday July 3 at 3pm following a private cremation.
Richard, aged 88, lived a full and involved life from his days as a schoolboy at Eton where he excelled at sport, through his time as a captain in the Grenadier Guards and service with the Army of Occupation after World War Two, to involvement in numerous organisations locally and nationally.
He was a former long-serving county councillor in both East and West Sussex, a magistrate, a high sheriff and deputy lieutenant, and a member of Balcombe Parish Council for more than 40 years.
A regular churchgoer, he also played an active part in countless organisations among which were the Balcombe branch of the Royal British Legion, Balcombe Gardeners’ Association and Balcombe Cricket Club, all of which he served as president, while he was involved for many decades with the bowls club, Balcombe Club and the Victory Hall Management Committee.
Further afield he was a committee member of the British Field Sports Society (now the Countryside Alliance), a trustee of the Game Conservancy Trust, president of the Sussex branch of the Grenadier Guards Association, chairman of Sussex Young Cricketers, a past president of the Tennis & Rackets Association and founding member, membership secretary and treasurer of the Old Etonian Racquets and Tennis Club. His involvement with tennis and rackets included his personal triumph as captain of Britain’s rackets team in about 1960.
On its website, the Tennis & Rackets Association described Richard’s half century of dedicated service as “unequalled”.
It said: “Richard was first co-opted onto the T&RA Council in 1960/61 and assumed the mantle of Joint Hon Secretary alongside Nigel Renny in 1963. His service continued for over fifty years, culminating in the Presidency between 2004 and 2011.
“In addition to all Richard did for the T&RA he was one of six founder members of the old Etonian Rackets and Tennis club and sat on the committee for 54 years. In that time he built the largest membership of the OE sports club.
“His support was unbelievable and with others he pursued the building of a Real Tennis court at the school. His dedication to all our sports was immeasurable.”
Balcombe Parish Council added further tribute. It said: “Richard Greenwood, over all the time he lived in Balcombe, gave continuous and generous support to the village, and to many of its societies and activities. Through his influence Balcombe Estate often gave unrecognised and unpublicised help to fetes, the annual Christmas Tree, various sporting events, and the upkeep of many village facilities. With his encouragement, the estate also generously supported initiatives such as provision of affordable housing, with a policy of keeping estate houses for estate workers and staff and many others who otherwise would not be able to afford to remain in the village. His own fine house was made available many times for village events as well as parties to recognise the achievements of residents. Richard Greenwood was a force for good throughout the village, dedicated to its well-being. In a survey of views about life in Balcombe carried out on behalf of the Parish Council a few years ago, the most widely quoted characteristic of the village was the friendly and caring nature of the community. Richard Greenwood both epitomised and materially contributed to this, and he will be very much missed by us all.”