Worthing lollipop man and Neighbourhood Watch volunteer dies suddenly

A hard-working Neighbourhood Watch volunteer for West Sussex and Worthing lollipop man has died suddenly at the age of 76.

Terry Rickards was well known for his work protecting the community in various ways and is remembered as a greatly respected colleague who did all he could to help people.

He died at Worthing Hospital on Friday, November 19, from sepsis, having been taken ill on the Wednesday. The disease had already laid him low in December 2019, when he had a heart attack and had to undergo major surgery.

John Wright, chairman of Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation, said: “He was a smashing guy. It was such a shock. He did a lot for me. He was very strong in what he believed in and he made a lot of sense. He was not afraid to challenge you.

Terry Rickards was the lollipop man for Thomas A Becket Junior School and was the first crossing patrol in Worthing to have a body worn camera. Photo by Derek Martin DM1932155a

“Terry was very gifted and very compassionate about community care. He was also a police volunteer, did marshalling and helped organise searches for missing people.

“Terry was firmly committed to crime prevention, community and public safety, and helping people whenever he could, and he was an enormous asset to communities in Sussex. He will be greatly missed.”

Terry was vice-chairman for West Sussex on the Sussex Neighbourhood Watch Federation and chairman of Worthing Neighbourhood Watch. He also worked closely with David Hansford, chairman of Adur Neighbourhood Watch, on a two-year data project.

David said: “We got together because of the Alert database, where we store members details so we can message them, making sure we kept it up to date. Whenever someone needed help, Terry was able to do that. He also managed to defibrillators in the town centre.

“He had so many contacts within the various organisations. He had been doing it for a good number of years. When the police had street briefings, he would go to help, and he would be there for most of those events. He spent a lot of time on it.”

In August, Terry and David were given a special mention in the Neighbourhood Watch Impact Report for 2020/21 for their painstaking and valuable work keeping Neighbourhood Alert’s database up to date while encouraging and supporting schemes, enabling them to keep residents informed and safe.

Tim Drew, secretary of Worthing Neighbourhood Watch Association, said Terry’s death was a massive blow.

He added: “Since becoming chairman seven years ago, having successfully revived Neighbourhood Watch in Tarring following a period of lack of direction, Terry had been instrumental in doing the same with Worthing Neighbourhood Watch, raising its profile via events in the town centre and bike marking sessions, while strengthening links with the police, as a member of the Joint Action Group, and the Safer Communities Partnership.

“A man of immense energy, Terry had an infectious ability to get on with people and, while he never hesitated to speak his mind, always did so politely, fairly and to the point.”

Terry was born in Tottenham and at one time ran his own audio video business. He had two children, John and Stuart, with his first wife Christine, who sadly died from cancer.

He met his second wife, Natalie, through work and they were married for 23 years.

Natalie said: “I miss him terribly. We had some very good years together.”

Terry was a stalwart of the West Downs Neighbourhood Watch Task Force and the Community Speedwatch Team, and he championed Dementia Friends.

Terry was also the lollipop man for Thomas A Becket Junior School, based on the corner of Wiston Avenue and Orchard Avenue. He was the first crossing patrol in Worthing to wear a body-worn camera, after the school purchased the equipment in June 2017. It was used to help monitor parking, driving and attitudes of road users and Terry said at the time it was a real deterrent for inconsiderate drivers.

There will be a procession past the spot where he served on Wednesday, December 15, at 10.40am, before his funeral at Worthing Crematorium in The Gordon Chapel at 11am.