One of the heroes of the Thailand cave rescue has been honoured for his bravery by his home city.
Rick Stanton has been presented with the Coventry Good Citizen Award in a ceremony at the Council House. He has also been recommended for an Award of Merit, for his part in the dramatic rescue of 12 young boys and their football coach.
Rick, who lives in Chapelfields and is a former Canley firefighter, led the ‘mission impossible’ and was the first person to reach the missing boys stranded in the flooded Tham Luang cave.
It has been reported to be the most challenging underground rescue in history, with more than 90 Special Forces soldiers drafted in to help.
The Lord Mayor Cllr John Blundell presented Rick with his Good Citizen Award and then councillors voted for Rick to receive the prestigious Award of Merit – awarded previously to Sir Frank Whittle, Sir Basil Spence, Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya and Ratan Tata – at a ceremony later in the year.
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council, said: “Rick is a true hero. 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 when I say that we were proud that one of the key people in that rescue was from our city.
“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.”
Rick 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.”
In 2004, Rick was also involved in the rescue of six British cavers who were trapped for eight days in a cave at the Mexican Alpazat caverns and in 2012 he received a medal from the Royal Humane Society for his attempt to rescue a diver from a French cave.
He was appointed a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2013 New Year Honours.