Paramedics represent EEAST in Coronation Honour Guard
Date: 15 May 2023
Two clinicians from the East of England Ambulance Service NHS Trust were chosen to be part of just 22 representatives of the nation’s ambulance service that formed part of the honour guard for the King’s Coronation.
Paul Leech, a Leading Operations Manager based in Suffolk and Jason Buxton, a senior paramedic and instructor from Cromer joined other representatives of the uniformed services to line the route of the coronation in full dress uniform when the King and Queen passed through to and from the ceremony.
The ambulance honour guard
The staff members were selected by ballot following nominations, and travelled to London for a rehearsal and briefing the day before the event. They stayed at a central London hotel overnight, but had little time to enjoy the facilities as breakfast was at 5.30am the next day so they could board their coach to Whitehall by 6.30 am.
Once there they were deployed along the route and were in place for around 5 hours – with one break while the ceremony actually took place.
They were then marched to Westminster bridge and returned to their hotels by coach.
Paul, who has been with EEAST for nearly 30 years, said: “It was very damp, and quite tiring, but the procession passed inches away from me and I could see both the King and Queen from just a few feet away. It was a fantastic experience.”
Paul Leech in position during the Coronation procession
Paul said he has been quite supportive of the Royal Family and, in addition to meeting The Princess of Wales when she opened Ipswich Children’s Hospice, he travelled to pay his respects at the funerals of both Princess Diana and the late Queen.
Jason, who has been with the service for more than 12 years said he was likely to have been selected on his ability to march – in addition to military service before joining EEAST, he continues to serve as an army reservist with 254 Medical Regiment. He has been no stranger to Royal encounters having previously dined with Princess Anne in relation his work with the army, and met Prince William at a hospital tearoom when the prince was a pilot with East Anglian Air Ambulance.
Jason agreed the discomfort was ‘worth it’ to be able to be present at the spectacle – and because they were in front of the barriers, their view was completely unobstructed: “The Royal Carriage is massive and covered in incredibly ornate detail – it was an impressive sight to see.”
Two clinicians from EEAST were chosen to be part of the honour guard for the King’s Coronation.