The CBSO is deeply saddened to hear of the sudden death of our dear friend and supporter Clive Richards, earlier this month.
Clive was an extraordinary man. Born and educated in Birmingham, he qualified as a chartered accountant before embarking upon a 50-year career in the City of London. He became Finance Director of NM Rothschild & Sons at a remarkably young age before building up a vast range of companies and investments across many industries. In 1983, Clive returned to his Midlands roots, purchasing the Lower Hope Estate in Herefordshire where he and his wife Sylvia subsequently created stunning gardens and an award-winning fruit, arable and livestock farm.
Clive and Sylvia’s other great interest has been helping others. The Clive & Sylvia Richards Charity, which was established in 1986, donates £1 million-£2 million per year to a wide range of worthy causes, from schools to hospitals and medical charities as well as the arts. In 2019 Clive commented ‘You can’t take your wealth with you, so we came to the conclusion that we would give it away’.
Clive was long committed to musical causes and to the support of young musicians. He served as a trustee of the London Symphony Orchestra in the 1980s, helping to lay the foundations for its great success over the last 30 years. More recently, following Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla’s appointment as our Music Director, Clive became involved with the work of the CBSO, and the Charity has been the principal supporter of the CBSO’s work with young people for several years.
Clive and Sylvia’s support has been transformational in maintaining the breadth and ambition of the orchestra’s work with young people following a period of reducing levels of public funding, and in giving us the confidence to pursue plans for the Shireland CBSO School. Equally important has been Clive’s practical advice and encouragement. Over the last year members of the CBSO’s management team have consulted him several times as we have navigated the Covid-19 crisis, and we have greatly valued his wise counsel.
Clive’s contribution to the CBSO, as to so many other charities, has been immense, and we will miss him dearly. Thank you, Clive – and may you rest in peace.