Richard Mountstephens reading last Treasurer’s Report. Photo: Sara Nimmo
by Deborah Jones
Richard Mountstephens first set eyes on Pittwater when he was just six and visiting his grandparents at Bayview during school holidays. It made quite an impression on him, although many decades passed before the idea of having a home in this part of the world took hold. In the mid-1990s Richard and his wife Anne came to Elvina Bay and, although for the most part the place was a weekender, Richard became a stalwart of West Pittwater Rural Fire Brigade.
After he had been a member for a few years he was asked if he’d take on the role of Treasurer. “I said yes, I’d be happy to do that. I didn’t need to be talked into it,” says Richard, who had done similar work for a few other organisations, including state and federal orienteering societies.
The brigade paid tribute to Richard at its AGM on June 6 when he bid farewell to that role after 15 years of service. As he turns 85 in September he figured it might be about time to hand the duties over to someone else. In professional life he was a dentist, retiring in 2006.
“Richard is one of nature’s gentlemen,” says West Pittwater RFS Captain Andrew Cutler. “He’s quietly done the most fantastic job as Treasurer and has been with the West Pittwater Brigade for more than 20 years. He’s a good example of how someone has committed to the brigade and given consistency of service and valuable advice to it.”
Richard came to Elvina Bay not long after the terrible fires of 1994 and believed it was important for homeowners not only to have a good understanding of how to protect their own property, but to have proper fire-fighting training. And so he joined the brigade.
As Treasurer he was particularly aware of the value of West Pittwater’s much-loved fire shed dinners, which bring the community together and raise necessary funds. “They are very much the lifeblood of the brigade,” he says.