Richard Hawthorne was a Nottingham businessman who became an unlikely champion of community relations. He was joint chairman of Hawthornes printers, a company that emerged out of a small printing works and stationery shops in the city owned by his father.
In 1968 Richard experienced a turning point after seeing a musical revue in London called India Arise, a production that celebrated the diversity of that vast country; it had a profound effect on him. The next day, he sat by the Thames pondering what the ‘inner voice’, as Mahatma Gandhi called it, was asking of him, a member of the Church of England.
He decided to reach out to people he might otherwise have kept at arm’s length. This led him to engage with community leaders, initially, in 1970, by joining Nottingham’s Commonwealth citizens’ consultative committee.