On Thursday 4th May 1972 when a ten-year-old Richard Moore was on his way home from school, his life changed forever. As he ran past an army lookout post, located at the edge of his school’s playground, a British Soldier fired a rubber bullet from ten feet away, blinding him for life. This is where his remarkable story of forgiveness and compassion begins.
Despite losing his sight in such a traumatic way, Richard returned to his old school, went on to university, successfully ran his own business, became an accomplished musician, and is married with two children and leads a very active and fulfilling life.
Richard didn’t harbour any bitterness towards the soldier who shot him and always expressed his desire to meet him. In January 2006, Richard met Charles for the first time, and the two men have become close friends.
Amazingly, from childhood to the present day, he has never allowed blindness to hinder his development. “I have learned to see life in a different way”, is how he describes his remarkable acceptance of what for most would have been a debilitating trauma.
In 1996 Richard felt the need to harness all that he had learned and put it at the service of humanity, particularly children around the world who have been caught in the crossfire of poverty. The story of Children in Crossfire, therefore, has its roots in what began as a tragedy and ended as a triumph of the human spirit to overcome adversity.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
On 17th July 2007 whilst His Holiness was present to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Children in Crossfire in Derry, gripping Richards hand the spiritual leader of the Tibetan Buddhists said, “Whether you believe it or not, you are my hero, and a wonderful son of humanity. Despite your tremendous painful experience you don’t have any anger or hate. You accept what has happened and keep your peace of mind. You are a good example and model”. During his visit the Dalai Lama met privately with Richard and Charles. “It is wonderful to see the person who suffered and the person who caused the suffering to become true friends” said the Dalai Lama. “There is genuine friendship and happiness which is based on forgiveness”.
Throughout his life, Richard has been recognised globally for his contributions to international development and the promotion of forgiveness and compassion.
Harry Mc Killop Irish Spirit Award
In May 2008, Richard travelled to Dallas, Texas where he was the recipient of the Harry Mc Killop ‘Irish Spirit Award’. It is awarded annually to a person of Irish or Irish-American descent in recognition of extraordinary acts of humanitarianism benefiting others and their local communities.
Beacon Fellowship Prize
In November 2008 Richard was the recipient of the Beacon Special Prize for his work in founding and directing Children in Crossfire. Richard was just one of six recipients of the 2008 Beacon Prize and joins the ranks of previous Beacon winners such as Sir Bob Geldof, Jamie Oliver and environmentalist, Zac Goldsmith who have all been recognised for their charitable work through what has become known as the ‘Nobel Prize of the charity world’.
Martyn Lewis, former Chairman of Beacon, said: “Children in Crossfire shows what one man’s drive and commitment can achieve globally. Richard’s work is all the more remarkable given that he himself was blinded at ten years old after a rubber bullet was fired at point blank range in his face. In some, such an event might have left bitterness. In Richard it left a desire to help others and he has done so on an enormous scale.”
Paul Harris Fellowship Award
In May 2010 Richard was the recipient of the ‘Paul Harris Fellowship Award’ the highest honorary award given by the Rotary Association in recognition of his service to the community both locally and internationally.
In July 2011 Richard was awarded an honorary degree of Doctors of Laws from the University of Ulster for his services to reconciliation and children’s rights.
Lifetime Achievement Award
The All Party Group on International Development, Stormont honoured Richard at the International Development Awards in March 2012 in recognition of his tireless campaigning and work across the globe.
IBAM 2012 ‘Person of the Year’ Award
In October 2012 Richard was awarded ‘Person of the Year’ at the iBAM Festival held in Chicago. The iBAM (Irish Book, Arts and Film) Festival recognises and celebrates the outstanding contribution made by individuals to Irish American culture.
Exemplar of Love and Forgiveness in Governance
In May 2013 Richard was awarded the ‘Exemplar of Love and Forgiveness in Governance’ Award from the School for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, Virginia in recognition of his exemplary work in promoting love and forgiveness in governance.
In August 2015 Richard became a ‘Fellow’ of The Centre for Compassion, Integrity, and Secular Ethics at Life University, Atlanta GA. The centre is dedicated to developing and promoting empirically-based programs that foster the human values most conducive to individual, social and environmental flourishing through research, dialogue, education and community empowerment.
In August 2015 Richard became an Honorary Fellow of the Dalai Lama Centre for Compassion, Oxford, UK. The Centre brings together a team of fellows, trustees and patrons who share a sense of the power of compassion to shape human life.
In October 2018 Richard received the Albert Schweitzer’s Leadership for Life Award from the Ireland Chamber of Commerce, USA.
In September 2019 Richard was awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award at the Derry Journal People of the Year awards in Derry, Northern Ireland.
Click the button below for “Lessons in Forgiveness and Compassion”, a resource for teachers and educators inspired by Richards real life experiences from his childhood.