A former Coventry firefighter who was instrumental in in rescuing 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave in Thailand is to be honoured by his home city.
Rick Stanton, who worked at Canley fire station in the city, was the first person to reach the missing boys stranded in the flooded Tham Luang cave last month.
He led the ‘mission impossible’ to free them and will now receive two awards from Coventry City Council in recognition of his efforts.
Councillors at the next Full Council meeting on 4 September will vote to approve Rick receiving the prestigious Coventry Award of Merit. At the same meeting he will also receive a Good Citizen Award.
An Award of Merit is given in order to publicly to acknowledge and honour behaviour reflecting the highest ideals of citizenship or outstanding performance in any worthy field of human endeavour, which enhances the good name of the City of Coventry and affords inspiration to its citizens.
People who have previously received the award include Sir Frank Whittle, Inventor of the jet engine; Sir Basil Spence, architect and designer of the ‘new’ Coventry Cathedral; Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, Founder of Warwick Manufacturing Group; and Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group which own Jaguar Land Rover.
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said ““Rick is a true hero and I said last month that his efforts would be recognised in some way.
“Not only did he serve the city as a firefighter for many years, he also volunteered to use the very unique skill set he has to help rescue the 12 young boys and their coach trapped in the cave in Thailand.
“The rescue drew international attention as the world waited for the outcome and I know I speak for Coventry people that we were proud that one of the key people in that rescue was from our city.
“Rick’s diving skills and bravery in risking his own life helped the story to have a happy ending with the triumphant rescue of the entire football team.
“He is an inspirational figure in the city and we hope that these honours will show how valued he is as a citizen of Coventry.
“The Coventry Order of Merit means Rick will be in impressive company but it is only right that we recognise one of our own heroes in this way."
The Good Citizen award – which is awarded at the start of each Full Council meeting and recognises the efforts of people that help or improve their community – will be presented by the Lord Mayor of Coventry, Cllr John Blundell, at the next meeting on 4 September.
Rick, who lives in Chapelfields, Coventry, said: “I really appreciate the thoughts that people have expressed about me and understand the role I had in the rescue. It was definitely not an everyday event.”