Born in Aldershot, the son of a regular soldier, he spent his first two years of life in India. On return to England, the family moved to Preston Lancashire. It was in nearby Leyland that he was introduced to the cornet with the British Legion Band. Within three years Richard was one of the founder members of the National Youth Brass Band, becoming principal cornet under the direction of the late, great Harry Mortimer, OBE, CBE.
Leaving his first band, he moved to the Leyland MotorsBand (the original forerunner of the now Leyland Band) and studied under founding fathers Harold Moss and William Haydock.National Service took Richard to Berlin, and on return to civilian life, he spent two years with the Black Dyke Mills Band.
However, it was in the art of conducting that Richard was to carve a brilliant career. Upon graduation from the Royal Northern School of Music, he began full time teaching and worked as a freelance trumpet player with the BBC Northern Symphony Orchestra, the Manchester Mozart Orchestra, Syd Lawrence, and many other famous ensembles.