Published: 13:52, 04 March 2020
| Updated: 13:53, 04 March 2020
A former boxer who saved Princess Anne from kidnap has sold the medal he received as a mark of thanks.
Ronnie Russell from Strood was presented it by the Queen after he heroically floored a man who was trying to take the Princess on the Mall in London.
Ex-heavyweight Ronnie, now 72, sold the George Medal at an auction today.
He is due to use the money to fund his funeral costs due to his ailing health, and to pay off a Las Vegas wedding he got on credit after marrying his partner of 11 years two weeks ago.
After the auction, Ronnie, who now lives in Bristol, said: “For something I thought that I would never sell, I never believed it would sell for this amount.
"I am absolutely blown away with this price and gives me opportunities to do things that I thought I never thought we could.
"It will give me, or should give me, the relief I will be able to pay for my own funeral. I am very sad to be doing this.
"I am a through and through royalist to this day.
"I still believe that members of the royal family lives are more important than my own. Dying for them was fine by me.”
Ronnie has a rare inflammatory condition called Adult Onset Stills disease which destroys joints and means he is taking high doses of medication, and has also battled cancer and several strokes.
Ronnie’s wife, Mandy Russell, said: “The medal had emotionally left the building yesterday.
"We have been together for 11 years and what we have always done is to go on holiday, all on a credit card that we spend all year paying off.
"Now I can actually go and pay for it. We got married in Las Vegas with Elvis two weeks ago. We are going to have a proper knees up now.”
Auctioneer Oliver Pepys, associate director at auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, said: “Ronnie Russell displayed an outstanding act of gallantry, and it is fitting that his George Medal achieved such a fantastic price at today’s auction - a price that not only reflects the wonderful story of courage behind the medal, but also shows how strong the market for medals currently is.”
The George Medal is the second highest civilian award for gallantry with the highest being the George Cross.