A SPEEDWAY legend said he was blown away after the George medal he was given for foiling an attempt to kidnap Princess Anne sold for £50,000 at auction.

Ronnie Russell, 72, said he was selling the bravery medal to pay for his funeral. But after a private collector paid double the £15,000-£20,000 estimate on Wednesday morning, the one-time Robins manager said the extra cash would give him the chance to do things he never thought he could.

After the sale at Dix Noonan Webb auctioneers' Ronnie said: “For something I thought that I would never sell, I never believed it would sell for this amount.

"I am absolutely blown away with this price and it gives me opportunities to do things that I thought I never thought we could.”

In March 1974 he was a 28-year-old six foot, two inch, 17 stone former heavyweight boxer when he stepped in to floor a man trying to kidnap Princess Anne in central London.

Ronnie, then an area manager for Exclusive Office Cleaning, had been working on Pall Mall. He spotted Princess Anne's car then a few minutes later saw another car driving towards him by Admiralty Arch, which Ronnie initially thought was a case of road rage.

When he realised it was more serious he turned back to intervene, acting as Princess Anne’s “human shield” as the assailant tried to kidnap the royal.

He said: “She was the calmest person of the whole event. She just kept sitting there without getting angry or upset.

“She just went 'go away you silly man'. That was it. That was all she said to him, without any excitement or shouting.”

“I said ‘come this way Anne’, you’ll be safe. I got her by her forearms and lifted her out in front of me.

“I said he’s going to have to go through me to get to you.

“He has then run round behind me but I don’t know that. I turn around and he’s looking at me, glaring at me with the gun."

Ronnie struck the attacker: “I landed the punch right on his chin. I hit him as hard as I could in one go and there he was, flat on the floor. He was never going to move.”

Police arrived shortly after and Ronnie went to help an injured chauffeur, who was pouring with blood.

He was awarded the George Medal by the queen. Ronnie, who was Swindon Speedway manager from 2010 to 2011 and is now in charge of the Blunsdon stadium track, sold the medal to help pay for his funeral.

He suffers from rare inflammatory Adult Onset Stills disease, which affects his joints.