THE joint founder of a community first responders group says he was “taken aback” when he received an invitation to the Queen’s state funeral.

Stuart McLellan, from Neilston, was made an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

He is one of nearly 200 people from the June list who were invited to attend her state funeral at Westminster Abbey on Monday.

“It’s a massive occasion,” Stuart told the PA news agency. “I was actually quite taken aback when I got the phone call to ask if I would like to be part of it.

“It’s a sad occasion… I’m in a lot of organisations that the Queen has been sovereign head of, I’ve never had the opportunity of meeting the Queen, but the fact that I’ve actually been included as one of the last MBE recipients under the Queen has been pretty remarkable.

“I’m delighted to be included. I think it’ll be a sad occasion, but it’ll be nice to be part of a historic event.”

Stuart and his friend Ross Nelson both received an MBE earlier this year after setting up the Neilston and Uplawmoor Community First Responder group.

Stuart McLellan MBE

The Barrhead News reported in June how both Stuart, whose day job is as a technician with the Scottish Ambulance Service, and Ross had been named in what would turn out to be Her Majesty's final honours list.

Born out of an idea for a volunteer organisation in 2013, the group has now helped 20 of its volunteers into full-time employment with the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The group covers a vast area and has two vehicles with 4x4 capability to ensure they are able to get to patients in the winter months and access to countryside properties with difficult roads.

“In 2018, we got the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups," Stuart continued. I got nominated for an MBE following that.”

Mr McLellan, 28, has also secured hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent years to fund vital life-saving equipment and resources for remote communities in the west of Scotland.

“My family live in Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute,” Mr McLellan said.

“They needed a helipad, and the community had been trying for years to get it, so I managed to do a business case and get them funding from the Help Appeal, which is the County Air Ambulance Trust.

“I got them £270,000 for a 24/7 hospital helipad, which is now saving lives daily.”

Work has just started on securing a helipad for residents of Islay, based at the island’s hospital.