An "incredible and tremendous" honour was how Allan Sparkes described the feeling of being invited to attend the funeral for Queen Elizabeth II.
Born in Molong and raised in Cumnock, Mr Sparkes attended Orange High School from 1970, right up until his graduation in 1975. From there, he would join the police force as a 19-year-old.
But it was an act of rescuing of a child from a flooded storm water drain in 1996 - two years before his retirement from the police force - that would see him awarded Australia's highest bravery decoration, the Cross of Valour.
Little did he know that more then two decades after that act of courage, it would once again be on display, this time for the whole world to see.
"I was contacted on (Monday, September 12) to advise that the palace had issued an invitation to one of the five Cross of Valour recipients to attend the Queen's funeral," he said.
"Obviously that was a tremendous honour and the first emotion was how wonderful it was that the palace had recognised this award. It was a rather rushed situation to get to Canberra in time to catch the flight with the Governor General to go to England."
Mr Sparkes had just two days to prepare for the trip and entered into some "pretty frantic travel arrangements" to make it possible.
But get to London he would and it would only get busier from there.
After landing at around midday on the Friday, he then processed to take part in the rehearsal for the chivalry and gallantry procession.
"That was the first procession to enter Westminster Abbey during the funeral," Mr Sparkes said.
"It was made up of the recipients of the most significant chivalry awards in the Commonwealth and United Kingdom, followed by the gallantry awards."
Then Sunday came and he was invited to attend the Service of Remembrance lunch at Australia House in London.
On Monday morning came the funeral itself.
"It's a matter of trying to process a whole raft of emotions," Mr Sparkes said.
"You're in one of the most historical buildings in London and here you are amongst all of those involved in the ceremony, the various guards, units and uniforms.
"The attention to ceremonial requirements goes back centuries. You become very conscious of the fact that you are taking part in something so historic, based on traditions that go back hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years."
The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, David Hoyle, while Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, preached the sermon and led the commendation.
A two-minute silence was observed in the Abbey and throughout the United Kingdom as part of the service.
"To take part in the procession was an incredible honour of course," Mr Sparkes added.
"As you're walking through the Abbey in the company of people with some of the most prestigious awards in the world, you start to realise the significance of the invitation that you have received and how important it is to be there.
So much so was Mr Sparkes' honour treated with dignity and respect, that a world leader was even asked to wait while he and the rest of his group made their way in.
"As we entered the Abbey, unknown to me, the ushers had halted the entrance of the United States of America President, Joe Biden and his wife, to allow my group to walk past him, to enter the Abbey," he said.
"That was a pretty unique moment in my history."
Hymns and compositions with much-meaning for the monarch featured, including The day thou gavest, Lord, is ended; The Lord's my shepherd, which was sung at the wedding of the late Queen when she married The Duke of Edinburgh in the Abbey in 1947.
Another, Love divine, all loves excelling, was performed in an arrangement first sung at the wedding of The Prince and Princess of Wales in the Abbey in 2011.
For Mr Sparkes, one of the most powerful moments came when the Queen's casket was brought into the Abbey.
"Marching directly behind the casket was King Charles, the Queen consort and all the members of the Royal Family," he added.
"They are real people who have lost someone they have loved and cherished all of their lives. It switches in that moment from a world significance, to being here as a person to support and witness a family who has lost greatly."
Mr Sparkes touched back down in Australia on Wednesday morning and said it was a trip he would not soon forget.
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