A Perth Red Cross hero who attended the King’s coronation at Westminster Abbey called it “the experience of a lifetime”.
Covid pandemic volunteer Richard Stibbles BEM met many famous faces after he sat in one of the best seats in the house to watch the historic ceremony.
Dame Judy Dench, Dame Joanna Lumley, Sir Stephen Fry, Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly were just a few of the celebrities invited as guests.
Richard was invited having saved countless lives at three deployments in London during the crisis in 2020, transporting patients with coronavirus to hospital, care homes or back to their families.
He himself contracted the virus and spent months in hospital, first in London and then at Perth Royal Infirmary.
Richard even had to fully relearn to walk again – but that did not stop him.
The determined 42-year-old returned to the front line and his heroics earned him a British Empire Medal (BEM) in the New Year Honours List 2020 and a Red Cross award for exceptional contribution.
Richard, who joined the Red Cross at the age of 10, was one of 450 British Empire Medal recipients who were among the 2000 attendees at the ceremony.
“It was a fantastic day, such a great atmosphere and I got a good view,” he said.
“I was totally blown away with the magnificence and grandeur of if it all and with the music, choirs and regalia. I sat with a mix of emotions and goose pimples.
“I was surrounded by people from all over the world under the one roof and sat next to people that most individuals will never have the chance of ever meeting or speaking to.
“You felt the atmosphere in the abbey and that you were part of something special.
“It was probably one of the best days of my life and I will always remember it until the day I die.
“It was the experience of a lifetime.”
King Charles III’s coronation guest list included political figures Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, First Minister Humza Yousaf and French President Emmanuel Macron as well as a host of celebrities.
Richard recounted: “I was at an intense security check like everyone else. I realised I was standing in the queue behind Judy Dench and Ant and Dec and a few other famous faces.
“After the ceremony I spoke to Declan Donnelly and got my photograph taken with him.
“I also spoke to lots of people including Dame Judy Dench, Dame Joanna Lumley, Sir Stephen Fry, Maggie Smith, and others.
“The whole experience from start to finish was completely amazing and surreal.”