Shropshire Star

PODCAST: Eric Smith interviews the man who planned the Queen's funeral and the King's coronation

In this week’s episode of In Conversation With Eric Smith, the presenter speaks to the Telford-born man behind the scenes of huge state affairs including the Queen’s funeral and the King’s coronation.

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Eric Smith is back with episode 4 of his Shropshire Star podcast.

Former BBC Radio Shropshire presenter, Eric Smith, recently caught up with Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew ‘Vern’ Stokes from his office overlooking the Horse Guards Parade in London. The role is one of the four most senior Warrant Officer Class 1 appointments in the British Army, with military ceremonial responsibility for important state occasions.

Born in Telford, Garrison Sergeant Major Stokes has played a leading part in the Platinum Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday, Her Majesty’s funeral and most recently, the Coronation of King Charles III.

But how did the Garrison Sergeant Major go from Malinslee to the royal offices in the big smoke?

“It’s incredibly surreal to live and work here,” GSM Stokes explained. “It’s a dream come true, I pinch myself every day.”