Richard's team wins Nobel Peace Prize

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Richard Moyes. Pic: Constance Moyes
Richard Moyes. Pic: Constance Moyes
16 October 2017 10:06AM

A former Cockermouth School pupil is part of a group of anti-nuclear weapons campaigners which has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

The work of Richard Moyes, who left the school in 1991, and other members of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) was honoured because of their "ground-breaking efforts to achieve a treaty prohibition" on nuclear weapons.

Richard, who has worked in war zones in countries including Sri Lanka, Kosovo, Iraq and Cambodia will attend a ceremony in Oslo in December to receive the award.

He moved to Exeter 10 years ago but his parents Dianne and John live on Parkside Avenue.

Richard, who worked for the Cockermouth-based Mines Advisory Group after leaving Cambridge University, learned of the award as it was announced live on television.

"I was not expecting it - although I had thought it was a possibility because of everything we have done," he said.

"I felt extremely emotional. We are a large group of people who have worked together for six years on developing a legal treaty which has suddenly got the recognition it deserved.

"There has been so much tension in North Korea, the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize highlights the importance of this new treaty at a time when the threat of nuclear weapons is more pressing than ever in recent decades. This is a huge step forward."

ICAN has focused attention on the humanitarian impact that using these weapons would cause, with just one threatening to kill and injure hundreds of thousands of people and to poison their environment for the future.

"Despite the politics of these weapons, the scale of humanitarian suffering that they can cause means they cannot be considered acceptable," he said.

Richard runs the organisation Article 36, which is an international steering group member of the ICAN. He has two children and is married to Rebecca, a professor in classics.

His proud parents, both retired teachers, were overjoyed with the news. "We're absolutely thrilled, it's such a big deal," said Dianne, who used to work at Stainburn School.

John, who was assistant headteacher at Cockermouth School, was on FaceTime to Richard as the announcement was made.

He said: "He was grinning, saying 'Quiet, quiet, I'm listening to the announcement'. I have been extremely emotional ever since. This is a team effort but Richard has been at the centre.

"In the past he worked for the Mines Advisory Group and ended up in corners of the world that left parents worrying. He worked on projects clearing landmines and cluster bombs.

"He now spends more time campaigning, and in Geneva, New York and London rather than anywhere dangerous."

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