Richard & Maureen Berry have been the corner stone of the Skiers Trust for many years enabling the Trust to grow into a leading UK snowsports charity. Being very accomplished skiers, Richard managed the British Men’s Alpine Olympic Team from 1968 through to the Sapporo Olympics in 1972. After the Olympics he was involved in numerous and varied aspects of international Ski Race Championships both as a director of the British Ski Federation and a FIS Technical Director. Since 2000, Richard was been chairman of the Skiers Trust retiring in 2021. Throughout his illustrious skiing career, he has been stoically supported by his wife Maureen who acted as secretary to the Trust for many years.
Gina Sopwith (née Hathorn) is a British former alpine skier who competed in the 1964 Winter Olympics, in the 1968 Winter Olympics, where she finished 4th in the Slalom, and in the 1972 Winter Olympics.
David (Zach) Freeth
Obituary for Lt Col David (Zach) Freeth RA
It is with deep regret that we report the death of Lieutenant Colonel David (Zach) Freeth on 3rd March 2021 after a long illness. Zach had a real passion for skiing and adventure & was one of the greats in the family of British Olympic & Para-Olympic Skiing. In 1968 he became a trustee & director of the Skiers Trust of Great Britain and latterly a Patron of the Trust.
Zach was educated at Felsted Prep School and Wellington College, he then attended Mons Officer Cadet school and in August 1961 followed his inspirational & gallant father into the Royal Artillery. His military career took him to numerous Regimental & Staff appointments, operational tours in Northern Ireland, Germany and in Zimbabwe as part of the British Army Advisory & Training Team and finally to NATO.
Zach’s first love of skiing began when he was first introduced to skiing in 1948 at the age of seven, when his family went to Ehrwald, Austria & continued on a winter holiday in Saalbach in the Tirol, where he taught himself to race with other Austrian boys. He won the Slalom and was runner-up in the Downhill, when he first skied in the Army Ski Championships and was selected for the British Alpine Ski Team for the next six years. In 1966 at the age 25, Zach won the Gold Medal in the Commonwealth Games downhill at St. Moritz and was made captain of the British Ski Team. Sadly in 1968 he injured his Achilles tendon in the run-up to the Grenoble Winter Olympics, preventing him from competing.
Following his skiing accident, he was posted to RMA Sandhurst as an Instructor, where he inspired many young cadets to ski; I was fortunate to one of Zach protégés and went on to Captain the Sandhurst Ski Team in 1970/71.
Zach was instrumental in developing the Gunner Ski training scheme, which lead to the dominance of 94 Locating Regiment in the Army & Combined Services ski championships, and he won the prestigious Napier Award for his outstanding contribution.
Over the period of 1969 to 1972 he won three Army Championships in a row winning the Giant Slalom, Slalom & Downhill events, except for one Giant Slalom in 1969, when he was second! Over his eighteen years of competitive skiing, Zach won many Army & Inter-services titles, including the Sir Henry Lunn’s British Inter-Services Ski Champion.
After military service he continued to promote skiing, especially through the advancement of skiing for the disabled and was the chef de délégation in Tignes for the British Winter Para-Olympics in 1992 & in Lillehammer in 1994.
Over the period of 1999 -2003 he was also the Vice President of the British Winter Sports Commission and was nominated a Churchill Fellow. Zach continued to be involved in National Ski Federation of Great Britain (NSFGB), which is now GB Snowsports, as the chairman of the Men Alpine Sub-committee.
After his retirement Zach’s voluntary work took him into the Prisons in Kent, as part of the Prison Fellowship and was involved with the Kent Association for the Blind.
Through his son Ben Freeth MBE, his zeal for justice gave him the motivation to become a Founding Trustee of the Mike Campbell Foundation to restore the rule of law for Zimbabwean farmers.
Zach bore ill health with bravery and fortitude, which epitomised his compassion as a Christian Officer & Gentleman. Our thoughts and prayers are with his devoted Claire and their two children Ben & Sarah and their families.
The STGB extends its deepest sympathy to his family and numerous friends.