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Richard Armstrong

1962 – 1993

Past President IWWF and Captain Irish Water Ski Team (1989)

 

Richard Armstrong was one of the founding members of the Lough Aghery Water Ski Club, Hillsborough, Northern Ireland. His fondness for the sport was enormous and the amount of time he put in on the administrative side was way out of proportion to the time he spent on the water. He did it because of his passion for the sport and the many, many people from all parts of Ireland that became his close friends.

Richard was a three-event skier with a bit of barefoot on the side, and nothing gave him more joy than running the slalom course in tournament. He was also gutsy and never shy’ d from the jump in spite of taking some big crashes.

It was his organisational skills and his desire to promote water-skiing to a wider audience that set him apart from others. In the mid 80’s he was the driving force in running a jump event on the River Lagan in downtown Belfast. He was the non-skiing captain of the Irish Water Ski Team which travelled to West Palm Beach in Florida 1989 and became President of the IWWF in 1990. He was a long-standing member and Chairman of the Northern Ireland Water Ski Association and was involved in the amalgamation of both Associations, which is now known as the IWWF.

Richard was also an accomplished competitive boat driver and took enormous pleasure when an athlete achieved a PB or even an Irish Record when skiing behind him.

He was the Managing Director of Wilsons fruit and vegetable importers in Northern Ireland and would start his day at 4:00am to ensure the bananas were at the right temperature. This of course put him under a little pressure later in the day. His energy and enthusiasm were renowned and was famous for taking a 30-minute nap at the dinner table, before setting off for more night time adventure.

Sadly, Richard got sick while his wife Heather was in hospital with their first and only son Ryan. What was initially thought to be a flu was in fact meningitis. Richard never recovered and only got to see and hold his child for a fleeting time.

Meningitis is inflammation of the lining around the brain and spinal cord – the meninges. Septicaemia is blood poisoning caused by the same germs and is the more life-threatening form of the disease. Septicaemia can occur with or without meningitis.

Untreated bacterial meningitis is almost always fatal. With treatment the risk of death is reduced.

Symptoms Checker. Meningitis and septicaemia can kill in hours - know the symptoms. The first symptoms are usually fever, vomiting, headache and feeling unwell. Limb pain, pale skin, and cold hands and feet often appear earlier than the rash, neck stiffness, dislike of bright lights and confusion.

Tumbler Test-press a clear glass firmly against the rash. If the marks remain clearly visible seek urgent medical help immediately. Check the entire body. Look for tiny red or brown pin-prick marks which can change into larger red or purple blotches and blood blisters.

Treatment is determined by the cause of your meningitis. ... Early diagnosis and treatment will prevent brain damage and death. Bacterial meningitis is treated with intravenous antibiotics. There's no specific antibiotic for bacterial meningitis.

 

25 years later Richard is still missed by family and friends alike. His memory in the water ski fraternity is paramount and this Trust will ensure it lasts forever.