John Anderson admits that never in his “wildest dreams” did he ever think he would be among royalty and other famous faces at Westminster Abbey.
But this morning, the Fraserburgh Covid hero was one of the 450 similar beneficiaries suited and seated inside the ancient abbey to witness King Charles’s coronation.
Speaking afterwards, Mr Anderson told The Press and Journal it was a “spectacular” event.
“It’s one of those things that will stay in my mind for years and years and years, he said.”
Honoured to represent Fraserburgh
Mr Anderson was awarded the British Empire Medal in 2020 for his contributions to the community during the pandemic.
Early on during lockdown, Mr Anderson was among one of the first to set up a call centre where those who had Covid could call for a food parcel and have it delivered to their home.
He then also helped to set up a community food pantry in the town to fulfill the “great need” for one in the community.
In recognition of this, he was one of the recipients of the award who was extended an invitation to the coronation in London.
Feeling very privileged, he said: “I feel very honoured that I’m representing Fraserburgh Community Council Resilience Group.
“Especially as the 26 volunteers that work very, very hard for the resilience group and the food larder.
“So it’s for them, it’s representing them plus representing Fraserburgh. It’s quite an honour to be representing all that.”
Looking forward to watching it all over again
Mr Anderson travelled down to London with his wife Margaret, who watched the ceremony from outside.
He queued outside Westminster Abbey from 7am and said it had been a long but “spectacular” day.
He said was pleasantly surprised to be offered a seat facing the centre of the aisle rather than “stuck behind a pillar” for the ceremony.
While he was blown away by the stained glass windows and “excellent outfits”, Mr Anderson said he was especially impressed by the music.
He said: “It was beyond expectations it didn’t really know what was going to be expected.
“The music was fantastic, especially when the pipe organ played. The actual air inside the building was vibrating.
“It was just really excellent. There’s not really enough words to describe it.”
The granddad spoke to The P&J while sitting on an airport floor back in his jeans, ready to come home and be “back to reality.”
He said: “The thing is I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would be sitting in Westminster Abbey in a coronation. Seeing it on the TV yes but nae seeing it in the abbey.
“So it’s back to normal again, I’ve got my jeans on sitting on the floor at the airport getting ready to get checked in.”
He said the “once in a lifetime” event had not yet sunk in.
When he gets home, Mr Anderson said he was looking forward to “chilling out”, adding: “I’m going to put on the TV and watch it all again. Sit back and take it in.”