Delivery driver Geoff Norris is doing ‘a Harry’ by flying in and out of London on Saturday for the King’s coronation at Westminster Abbey.
Geoff Norris from the Wisbech store of Asda found himself in a predicament after receiving an invitation of a lifetime to attend the coronation.
Supermarket driver Geoff Norris has been invited to the coronation due to his volunteer work in the pandemic, but it has a very important clash – with his son's wedding in Greece https://t.co/SvPyMdzcVq
📺 Sky 501, Virgin 602, Freeview 233 and YouTube pic.twitter.com/LsmvyZgnjm
— Sky News (@SkyNews) May 4, 2023
But he soon realised that the date clashed with another once-in-a-lifetime occasion – a family holiday in Greece where he will be the best man at his 29-year-old son Anthony’s wedding to fiancée Laura.
Geoff said: “When I received the invitation from the Cabinet Office I felt very, very proud and very, very honoured.
King Charles III coronation
“I obviously accepted straight away, but the panic set in as soon as I realised, I was going to be out of the country, but I had to be at both occasions.
“I couldn’t miss this opportunity to be at the coronation of King Charles III and I certainly couldn’t miss my son’s wedding.”
Geoff was awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2020 for his work during the pandemic.
90th birthday surprise
He arranged for his team to deliver food and essentials and to look after vulnerable and elderly people in his community, and even organised a surprise 90th birthday treat for an elderly customer who was self-isolating on her own on her big day.
He also got his wife, Vanessa, and daughter, Anna, involved and they also helped with the orders.
The family are in Kos to enjoy a family holiday around the wedding, which is taking place on May 10.
As the coronation takes place on Saturday, Geoff initially approached TUI with whom the holiday is booked to see if he could come back for it.
He said: “The TUI website said it was going to cost £1,000 to make any changes. But I phoned and explained my situation, which they treated as ‘exceptional circumstances’.
“I have to say, their staff went above and beyond to try and help, but unfortunately the scenarios offered didn’t quite accommodate what I needed.
“So, a friend’s son, Jason Duke, who is a British Airways pilot, sorted flights that work perfectly, paid for out of his own pocket, which is very generous of him.
Can now attend both
“I can now be at both events, which means the world to me.
“Anthony is as made up as I am that I’ve been invited and is totally understanding of the disruption. “He’s in the Royal Signals so ultimately, it’s his boss’s coronation!
He added: “I want to publicly thank everyone, and the companies involved, for all their help, kindness, and generosity.
“During the pandemic, we only ever set out to help the elderly or vulnerable. Three years later, it is going to be an honour to represent my colleagues, customers, and the community at such a memorable occasion.”
Two thousand people have been invited to attend the coronation and among them are 400 British Empire Medal recipients.
After being awarded the BME, Geoff said: “We never, ever expected anything like this. My wife and family were as shocked as I was.
“There were a lot of people out there who were in need and couldn’t get anything and I knew I had to do something to help. Some of them were in tears. It wasn’t just me; my wife and daughter were taking phone calls, and a lot my colleagues at Asda helped too. They were fantastic.”
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