Robert John Richardson, born 2 August 1923
Robert Richardson, a pioneer innovator in the marine industry, sadly passed away on 20th October 2018, aged 95.
In a quote to the team members at Richardsons Leisure Limited the Richardson family announced:
It is with deep sadness that the family wish to inform you that Mr Richardson (Bobby) has passed away.
After suffering a stroke on Friday morning, he was taken to Norwich University Hospital where, with all his children at his bedside, he slowly and peacefully passed away at 1:30am Saturday morning.
The success of the business and the continuing improvements to land, buildings and boats and the developments of you, our team, were a daily interest to him. He was keen to watch and learn of what was being done and behind the scenes his input continued to be invaluable.
We are sure his legacy will be remembered through the success of the business.
(As a mark of respect the Richardsons flags are flying at half mast at their marinas and holiday park.)
Mr Richardson Jnr opened his boating portfolio with the purchase of 4 row boats in the early part of the war before he was ‘called up’ and his father let them for him during the War, in addition to the existing fleet of day boats. In 1944 Mr Richardson purchased their first motor cruiser and early 1944 Mr Richardson Snr and Jnr bought Old Mill House Boatyard in Oulton Broad, from which they let row boats, sailing boats and motor launches. Robert Jnr was in the RAF during the war, stationed in Palestine, Egypt and India. In 1947 he re-joined his father in the boat letting business.
By 1957 the Hire Fleet had outgrown the Oulton Broad sites which led to Mr Richardson Jnr looking for larger premises on the Norfolk Broads. During late 1957 the fleet of hire boats was moved to Stalham and hiring commenced Spring 1958. During the next 15 years the fleet increased with the expansion of the original site at Stalham, creating the largest boatyard on the whole of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads.
In 1986 Horning Boatyard was purchased, followed by three boatyards on the River Thames in 1991. The last boatyard to be purchased was ‘Hearts Cruisers’ in Thorpe Norwich in 1992.
In 1993 Mr Richardson diversified bringing a new venture to the Group with the introduction of Holiday Villages.
His achievements within the marine industry were recognised in 2010 with Mr Richardson being awarded the Boating Business Lifetime Achievement Award by Marine Trades Association (MTA) and Boating Business.
For more on Mr Richardson’s amazing history see link below:
Greg Munford, Chief Executive of Richardson’s and President of British Marine commented:
“Mr Richardson was a pioneer, innovator and an entrepreneur ahead of his time.
One of the founding Fathers of post war tourism in our region.
A quiet, kind and true gentleman whose passion for boating and business has allowed millions of people to enjoy our wonderful waterways in Norfolk, Suffolk and the Thames along with holidays on land through his inspired diversification into holiday parks.
His business has created happy memories that families and friends will never forget and that will transcend their generations.
For those who had the privilege to know him his memory will never be lost.
It is with sadness that we will be celebrating our 75th year without Mr Richardson but knowing the man he would certainly want it to be ‘business as usual.’”
Mr Richardson leaves behind a much-loved family; his daughters Jess and Laura, sons Paul and Clive and nine grandchildren.