Hero cave diver to receive honorary degree from Aston University

  • Heroic cave diver Richard Stanton MBE GM, part of a complex operation to rescue a trapped football team in Thailand last year, is to receive an honorary degree from Aston University
  • The former fireman, who holds multiple world records, started his cave diving career during his time at the University

A civilian cave diver, who helped to rescue the trapped football team in northern Thailand against all odds, is to receive 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, 12 of them boys as young as 11, became trapped in the narrow, flooded passages of the Tham Luang cave last year following heavy rains. He 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.”

Richard is one of 13 honorary degree recipients from Aston University during this summer’s graduation ceremonies. Each recipient has been selected for distinguishing themselves in a particular field or profession, or for giving meritorious service to the University.

More information on other recipients can be found here


Photos (click links to download)

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a University since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiaries – students, business and the professions, and our region and society. Aston University is located in Birmingham and at the heart of a vibrant city and the campus houses all the university’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students.  Professor Alec Cameron is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

For media inquiries in relation to this release, call Simon Glover, Press & PR Officer, on 0121 204 5159 or email s.glover@aston.ac.uk. Alternatively, email pr@aston.ac.uk

Be first to get the latest news, research and expert comment from Aston by following us on Twitter or subscribing to our press list.

Need an expert for your story? Browse our expert directory