Dr Richard Cullen, a founder of Deptherapy and Deptherapy Education, has received a Points of Light award from Prime Minister David Cameron for his work helping to rehabilitate seriously injured armed services personnel through scuba diving.
Each weekday the PM recognises through Points of Light awards one or more outstanding individual volunteers, judged to be making changes in their community. The programme has been running in the UK since 2014, and Cullen is the 560th recipient.
The diver is a retired Metropolitan Police Commander and was its Director of Training & Development, at the time the world’s largest police-training agency. Before that he was a senior civil servant, responsible for National Probation Service human resources.
Cullen started diving in 2007 and became involved with Deptherapy three years later, going on to become its chairman. He qualified through PADI to teach other scuba instructors in the UK and abroad through the Deptherapy Education arm of the charity.
Deptherapy takes small groups of injured troops out to overseas destinations for tailored scuba-diving programmes, and participants report great benefits from the experience. Cullen received his award shortly before departing on the charity’s latest trip to El Quseir, Egypt, to be reported on in Diver magazine by Louise Trewavas.
“Our servicemen and women give so much to our country – we as a nation have a duty to these people who sacrifice so much to keep us safe,” stated the Prime Minister. “Richard’s commitment to giving something back to so many of these brave people is truly inspiring.”
“Working with UK armed services personnel who have suffered life-changing mental and/or physical challenges is a privilege,” said Cullen. “Seeing the difference scuba-diving makes to their lives is truly amazing. Some of our programme-members are very clear that the charity has not just changed their lives, but saved them.
“I am humbled by the Prime Minister’s Points of Light award, which I accept not just for myself but on behalf of all our team who give so freely of their time. For me as an individual and for Deptherapy this is a very proud day.”
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