Richard Langford, the man who boosted windsurfing's recognition as an official sport in the UK, has been awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Elizabeth II, the British Queen.
The 63-year-old sailor has been chairman of the Royal Yachting Association since 2007 and is preparing to help Team Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympics.
"I got a letter a couple of months ago with an official stamp on it and was slightly concerned that it was a tax bill. The letter said that I had been selected for an award, and I had to read it twice and pick myself up off the ceiling," Langford said.
"I've managed to keep it secret from everyone except my wife, Irene."
His services to windsurfing and sailing are quite extensive. Richard started sailing at the age of 8 on the River Trent and participated in several competitions.
In the 70s, he joined the Royal Yachting Association and lobbied for windsurfing to be recognized as a professional sport.
Richard Langford moved to Rutland and currently works in yacht insurance, still very close to the winds and waters.
"The next step will be to wait for another official letter to tell me when I can go to London to receive my award from a member of the Royal family. An OBE is an incredible honor and a total surprise," he says.
The entire British windsurfing nation is very pleased with Richard Langford's OBE and will celebrate it throughout the year.