UK Deaf Sport is saddened by the news of Dr Terry Riley OBE passing at the age of 75. Originally from Manchester, Terry passed away in the early hours on 9 October 2019 in Kent.
There are many tributes to his life and work, applauding his leadership, charisma and campaigning for sign language and the rights of people in the Deaf community both here in the UK and around the world. He will also be missed by the Deaf Sports community, by the British Deaf Sports Council and latterly by UK Deaf Sport.
When he was awarded the OBE in June 2014, UK Deaf Sport paid tribute to “his determination to ensure comprehensive TV coverage of the GB Deaflympics team during his tenure at BBC See Hear. This legacy has contributed to a continuing development of broadcasting of Deaf Sport and all other issues that are important to us all.”
Terry was not one to rest on his laurels and set an example to others by encouraging change and progress in all areas. He helped to push the case for Deaf Sport in the UK in 2001 when he was working for BBC See Hear, he created as many opportunties as possible to broadcast Deaf Sport events and issues. He was chosen to chair the Deaf Sports Forum meeting in 2001 which led to the setting up of the Deaf Sports Strategy Group (DSSG).
Following that, Terry was also a vocal supporter of modernising Deaf Sport but wanted to make sure that there was a place for the BDSC (British Deaf Sports Council) through grassroots Deaf Sport and accepted the establishment of a new governing body – UK Deaf Sport in 2003.
On the international level, he also advocated for the equality of sport at the United Nations as a Board member of the World Federation of the Deaf (WFD) he helped also to agree the memorandum of Understanding between WFD and ICSD in 2013.
Amongst his many interests, he was a supporter of Cheadle Town FC and Manchester City FC. He enjoyed the bonding through football with his son Colin who was a United supporter.
Always trying to think ahead and not one to miss out on the pleasures and celebration of life, he brought his Christmas celebrations forwards last week, Friday “under Doctors orders”. Such humour and humility, he leaves a legacy for many to emulate.
Dr Terry Riley OBE 19/6/1944 – 9/10/2019