At Cannes, Sundance, Berlin or Toronto, it would’ve been difficult for Richard Attenborough to move anywhere without recognition. But in Richmond upon Thames, Dickie Attenborough was able to separate himself from fame and fortune for 53 years. So why a two-time Oscar winner, local University donor and cinematic off-screen, on-screen genius is yet to be locally recognised, seems unbelievable.

In the same year of Richard’s death, his brother and renowned naturalist, David, received Richmond’s highest accolade - the ‘Freedom of the Borough Award’. The award has only been given to 7 people since 2004, recent recipients include former chief executive of Richmond Council, Gillian Norton, and the directors of the Orange Tree Theatre. It is only fitting that Richard is awarded one posthumously.

Perhaps Attenborough is most recognised as the director behind ‘Gandhi’, or for his performance as John Hammond in ‘Jurassic Park’. These cinematic successes have already been hugely rewarded and rightly so - in the shape of a Knighthood and countless honorary doctorates. But Richard Attenborough’s career is unarguably inspirational - for anybody, regardless of industry. His local commitment and dedication are lesser known and deserve just the same recognition.

Attenborough was a donor to Richmond University, a patron to the Orange Tree Theatre and Vice President of Greater London Fund for the Blind. His humanitarian and local commitments were endless. In a society in which children have innumerable actors and directors to aspire to be, it’s important we single out the most inspirational of them all. Particularly when they have local humanitarian ties, that if passed on, could be the beginning of the society Dickie Attenborough spent his life in Richmond dedicated to developing.