Former headteacher receives accolade in King’s Birthday Honours List after incredible 53 years of services to volleyball

By Jill Dando News

Ron Richards, former Headteacher of Priory Community School Academy (PCSA) has been awarded a British Empire Medal for “Services to volleyball and the community in the South West of England” in the King’s Birthday Honours List. 

Mr Richards also now the Vice Chair of The Priory Learning Trust (TPLT) was rewarded for services spanning an incredible 53 years in the sport.

His work in volleyball began when he became the Secretary of the South West Volleyball Association in 1970, soon after the association was formed and his work has spanned over five decades.

He was also headteacher of PCSA until 2007 after being at the school since 1977. Now he has become Vice Chair of TPLT which PCSA is part of along with others schools in Somerset.

Mr Richards said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive the British Empire Medal. I have loved every minute of my time helping as many people as possible to enjoy the brilliant sport of volleyball. We have used the sport to bring the community together, 

“Thank you to all the hundreds of volunteers over the years who have made organised volleyball possible across this successful and active region. This award is dedicated to all those who have taught me so much over the years and supported me in my volunteering.”

He added: “A huge thanks also to my wife Jan and my children David and Kate for their support and for allowing me to spend so much of my time volunteering in my various volleyball activities.”

In the 1980s and 1990s Mr Richards was also a Vice Chairman of the English Volleyball Association, representing the SW Association at a national level.

In 1972 he established the Whitefield Volleyball Club – now part of the City of Bristol Volleyball Club – and in 1973 the Whitefield Volleyball Tournament. 

The tournament initially took place at the Whitefield Fishponds School before moving to Bath Sports Centre & Recreation Ground in 1982 and more recently at South Bristol Sports Centre

In 1977 he took up a teaching post at PCSA and established the Priory Volleyball Club and the Priory Volleyball Tournament. He continued to coach the school’s junior teams up to the point that he retired as Head in 2007.

While headteacher, Ron was responsible for the school gaining its “Community School” status and for the construction of new sports facilities for both school and community use – allowing voluntary groups to make use of school facilities.