Richard Stanton MBE GM,

A cave diver who helped to rescue the trapped football team in northern Thailand has received an honorary degree from Aston University.

Richard Stanton MBE GM, known as Rick, was responsible for planning and executing a seemingly impossible three day rescue after 13 members of the Wild Boars football team became trapped in the narrow, flooded passages of the Tham Luang cave last year following heavy rains.

Rick was drafted in due to his unique knowledge of underwater cave exploration, having devoted much of his life to discovering how far he could pursue the activity.

The 58-year-old started his cave diving career as a member of Aston Diving Club during his time at Aston University between 1979 and 1982. He went on to serve as a firefighter with the West Midlands Fire Service for 25 years before retiring in 2014. During his time there, he received several awards, including ‘Hero of the Year’. His passion for cave diving has taken him to unexplored places around the globe, leading him to become known as the man to call upon to save lives or recover bodies in difficult circumstances.

Together with his diving partner, John Volanthen, Rick holds multiple world records for his extraordinary diving efforts. He has also developed his own diving gear to great effect, including two closed-circuit rebreather units which allow a diver to fit through smaller spaces.

Commenting on his honorary degree, Richard said: “I’m extremely proud to be awarded in this manner by my original university, and recognised for the innovative concepts I have developed for practical application.”

Rosie Ginday MBE, founder of Miss Macaroon

Also among the 13 honorary degree recipients from Aston University during this summer’s graduation ceremonies is Rosie Ginday MBE, the founder of award-winning Birmingham social enterprise, Miss Macaroon.

Rosie Ginday MBE, the managing director of Miss Macaroon, established her company in 2011 in an effort to create a social enterprise business that combined her passion for premium quality food with her ambition to help provide work and training for 56 disadvantaged young people such as ex-offenders or care leavers.

Since starting the company with £500 of her own money, Rosie has gone on to supply the likes of Ted Baker, EE, Pandora and key events at Aston University with her delicious macaroons. She was awarded an MBE for her services to the community in May and received an invite to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding.

The 35-year-old’s inspiration came from her passion for food, having trained as a high-end pastry chef and worked in Birmingham Michelin Star restaurant Purnells. The support that she provides disadvantaged youngsters through Miss Macaroon includes work experience, emotional wellbeing sessions, interview practice, industry contacts and help to apply for jobs.

Commenting on her honorary degree, Rosie said: “I feel extremely privileged to have been recognised by Aston University with this honour and I look forward to celebrating with graduates and their proud parents.”

More information on other recipients can be found here