A Perth hero will rub shoulders with world leaders, celebrities and royalty after he was invited to attend the King’s coronation having helped save countless lives during the Covid pandemic.
British Red Cross volunteer Richard Stibbles BEM left home at the start of the crisis in 2020 to do three deployments in London working minimum 10 hour days transporting patients with coronavirus to hospital, care homes or back to their families.
Having stepped in after NHS ambulance crews struggled to cope with demand, Richard’s heroics came at a cost as he himself contracted the virus.
It floored him and he spent months in hospital, first down 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.
Despite his herculean achievements, Richard, who joined the Red Cross at the age of 10 and has been a volunteer ever since, still could not believe his eyes when he first received an email from Buckingham Palace earlier this month with the official coronation invitation.
“It is an honour,” he said.
“I got the email from the palace and then received the invite three or four days ago.
“I’m staying with family in London and then on the morning of the coronation I have got to be in the Westminster area for 7am.
“The service is nearer lunchtime but we are there earlier so people can be brought in in an orderly manner and for security checks. It will be quite an experience.”
Reflecting on why he was invited, Richard said: “I come from a background of nursing and care work.
“I very quickly realised