Boxing Scotland chairman Richard Thomas has died at the age of 45.
The death of the successful businessman shocked and deeply saddened all who knew him.
A lifelong boxing fan and keen youth boxer himself, Richard joined the sport’s governing body in February 2009 as organisational director at a time when its fortunes were at a low ebb before, in August 2010, he became chairman.
Over the past seven years he went on to drive through and oversee a total restructuring of the organisation which brought not only success in the ring internationally for its elite boxers but also a huge and much-needed improvement in the sport’s standards of governance.
He was brought up in Muirhouse, with brother Michael and sister Louise. His father, Jim, originally from Sierra Leone, suffered a serious leg injury as a youngster. After initial treatment there by a Scottish doctor, Jim travelled to Edinburgh for more treatment, leading to him settling here and later starting a furniture business in Easter Road.
Richard attended Drummond Community High School, where he particularly enjoyed and developed a talent for art and drawing.
A boxing enthusiast, he fought a number of contests at youth level as a welterweight for the Leith Victoria and Sparta clubs.
His first job was as a tyre fitter, after which he set up his own joinery business, diversifying into shopfitting and cabinet making.
A change of career into office equipment sales work followed, after which he set up his own telecommunications company, Incovo, in Livingston, at the turn of the millennium.
He built this up to a very successful business with UK-wide contracts and continued as chief executive until the time of his death. Other business interests included a recruitment company and construction projects. He also had a long involvement with Livingston Boxing Club in a number of capacities and had a fondness for the gym and performance cars.
Richard was excellent at tackling problems, breaking them down into relevant issues and producing pragmatic solutions. At the start of his involvement with the boxing body, the sport was riven by factional interests and politics. To negotiate his way successfully through those minefields to bring unity called for special qualities. An exceptional communicator and “people’s person”, he was a tenacious visionary blessed with a sound temperament and an astute business mind.
While medal success was important to him, his ideal was for more youngsters of all abilities to embrace the sport and enjoy its positive benefits of self-worth, discipline, aspiration and fitness.
This he strove to achieve with considerable success as many warm tributes testify. He is survived by sons Christopher and Rocco, whom he loved dearly.