Coronation Street star Antony Cotton has praised members of the armed forces involved in the Queen’s state funeral as "nothing short of magnificent." The Corrie favourite, who plays Sean Tully in the long-running soap, attended the service at Westminster Abbey on Monday morning (September 19).
Antony, from Bury, shared a photo of the front of the order of service on his Instagram as the actor spoke of experiencing 'the greatest honour' of being invited along with members of the royal family, dignitaries and world leaders. Antony has a close association with the forces and was recognised in the 2022 Queen’s birthday honours for services to the British Army personnel and veterans.
He wrote: "Well…where to begin?! I had the greatest honour of being invited to Her Majesty’s funeral. So proud to see so many pals working on it, and doing their Queen and country proud. It was a day I will never forget." Quoting a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet also used by the new King Charles III in his first public address he added: “May flights of Angels sing thee to thy rest…”
Antony, who has played factory worker and barman Sean in the ITV soap since 2003, also Instagrammed a photo showing him looking smart standing alongside four military personnel in uniform. He wrote: "This was at 9am this morning, just before I headed into the Abbey. Thank you for your service x #queen #rip #westminsterabbey."
On Twitter he praised Garrison Sergeant Major Andrew ‘Vern’ Stokes who was in charge of all the military and ceremonial aspects of the state funeral. "Bravo @VernStokes," he praised. "And all of the personnel that delivered the perfect State Funeral for HM The Queen. He gets the best out of his soldiers, and today was the greatest example of that. I salute you, Sir."
And in another tweet he saluted: "The men and women of our armed forces were nothing short of magnificent today. I’m so, so proud of all my pals who worked on giving Her Majesty such a wonderful send off. It was a remarkable service."
Antony has been involved with the military community since 2008 and was named as the first celebrity ambassador for military charity the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association (SSAFA). In June he shared an emotional tribute as he was made an MBE.
Antony is also a patron of Help For Heroes and was made the SSAFA’s 2022 ambassador for the defence inclusivity category. Antony's official association with the charities began following the return of a close friend from Afghanistan, who needed support.
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