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Asda delivery driver's dilemma: King's coronation or family wedding in Greece?

Geoff Norris faced quite a dilemma. The King’s coronation or Kos and a family wedding?

Asda delivery driver, Geoff, was stunned but delighted to receive an invitation to Westminster Abbey for the crowning of King Charles on Saturday, May 6 – until his wife pointed out he would be in Greece for his son’s wedding.

“It was a great honour to be invited but I couldn’t possibly miss the wedding where I am to be best man,” he said.

Geoff Norris out on deliveries
Geoff Norris out on deliveries

“They are one in a lifetime events and I decided there and then that I would move heaven and earth to get to them both.”

Geoff, who was awarded the BEM for his efforts to help the elderly and vulnerable during the pandemic, and his wife Vanessa started to work out how to get round the unfortunate clash of dates.

With a little outside help it was all sorted and now Geoff will be joining the congregation of 2000 at the coronation and jetting straight back to Kos for the wedding four days later.

The family is heading to Greece earlier in May for an extended holiday before the wedding and, although they did their best, travel firm TUI was not able to sort flights to get Geoff back for a day.

In the end it was a friend’s son, who is a British Airways pilot, who sorted suitable flights so that Geoff could fly to Gatwick the day before the coronation, stay in a hotel overnight and be back in the sunshine in time for the wedding.

It means Geoff, from Walsoken, in Norfolk, will be one of around 400 BEM holders at the Abbey. His award came in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in recognition of his role in leading a team of fellow Asda colleagues to deliver goods to local elderly and vulnerable residents.

They gave up their time off and Geoff’s wife and their daughter Anna sat at home taking and organising the orders and sorting the paperwork.

The volunteers even organised a 90th birthday treat for one resident, Eileen, whose relatives were unable to visit and help her celebrate the big day.

The response to their kindness played a part in Asda setting up its Happy to Chat service for vulnerable and isolated customers; and local appreciation was shown when Geoff received a certificate of appreciation from Wisbech Lions.

When he was emailed about his BEM, he admits he thought it was a joke. “I could so easily have deleted it. I was gobsmacked,” he said.

“When the coronation invitation came through I recognised the sender so I realised it was genuine but it was still quite a shock.

“I feel honoured to be able to attend such an important occasion, to represent my colleagues and to support King Charles for whom I have a great deal of respect.

“We don’t know all the details yet but we have had the dress code so my suit is at the cleaners.

“With this and the wedding it is going to be quite a week!”

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