George Medal for saving Princess Anne from kidnap up for sale

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Princess AnneImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
Princess Anne's car had been blocked and Ian Ball had fired shots, wounding four people

A medal awarded to a boxer who helped save the Princess Royal from an attempted armed kidnap is to be sold.

Former heavyweight Ronnie Russell, 72, punched Ian Ball in the head as he tried to abduct the princess at gunpoint in London in 1974.

Mr Russell was awarded the George Medal for bravery by the Queen, who told him: "The medal is from the Queen, but I want to thank you as Anne's mother."

It is expected to fetch between £15,000 and £20,000 at auction next month.

Mr Russell, who now lives in Bristol, said he was selling due to ill health and wanted to provide for his future.

"It was something I said I would never, ever do," he said.

"What I would like is whoever does eventually buy the medal, I would hope they might invite me somewhere to tell them about what happened on the night."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Mr Russell said he "still considered it was well worth my while getting shot as opposed to Princess Anne"

Mr Russell was heading home to Kent when he thwarted the late-night ambush.

Ian Ball had blocked the princess's car on The Mall in central London and had fired shots, wounding four people.

"It was very fast moving," Mr Russell said.

He said Ball was trying to drag Princess Anne from her car while her then husband, Captain Mark Phillips, was pulling her back.

"She was very, very together, telling him: 'Just go away and don't be such a silly man'," he said.

"He stood there glaring at me with the gun and I hit him. I hit him as hard as I could and he was flat on the floor face down."

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
The medal is estimated to sell for between £15,000 and £20,000

Ball was later sent to a psychiatric hospital by an Old Bailey judge.

The medal will be sold along with a letter from 10 Downing Street informing Mr Russell of the award and a telegram from Princess Anne.

Auctioneer Oliver Pepys, from Dix Noonan Webb, said it has sold several George Medals in the past but most had been linked to World War Two."To be offering this peacetime medal, with such a cracking story, is a huge honour," he said.