Elderly artist inspires local community with portrait of the King to celebrate the coronation

ITV Central journalist Barnaby Papadopulos met Tony Sawbridge ahead of the King's Coronation

This will be the first Coronation for many of us. The last was in 1953.

However this will be the third time Tony Sawbridge has witnessed the country come together to celebrate a new monarch.

A former President of the Royal Society of Birmingham Artists, the 93-year-old's passion for painting hasn't dimmed with age: he's painted portraits to mark the passing of the crown from one monarch to the other.

Tony's years on earth have encompassed the death of George V in 1936, the King who saw the country through the First World War. He was alive to see Edward VIII take over, only to abdicate the throne within a year in order to marry an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson.

Edward VII didn't rule long enough to have a coronation, but his brother, George VI, did, and his daughter ruled for most of Tony's life until her death in September last year.

Hundreds of thousand of people came to London in 1953 to catch a glimpse of the new Queen. Credit: PA

During the last coronation, Tony was completing his national service in the army, based in Aldershot. He was on duty at the time, and wasn't one of the thirty thousand troops who marched in procession through London, watched by a live television audience of millions.

A few days later, Tony went to the capital to look at the decorations.

"Coming down the mall, he said, "was a huge convoy of luxurious limousines. It was led by the Queen, with her tiara, and Prince Phillip, and Princess Margaret."

He's worked as a professional artist almost all his life - even during national service, those skills were called upon and Tony created landscape models for officers to plot troop movements on.

Tony remembers a "huge convoy" of limousines coming up the mall

His portraits of the King and late Queen has inspired his neighbours in Sutton Coldfield, and he's planning to sketch at their upcoming street party.

"We first saw Tony's portrait of the Queen when we were walking down here with our grandchildren," said one neighbour. "They went, 'look, there's the Queen!'

"It was such a lovely picture that when I came to talk to Tony about the coronation street party I encouraged him to paint a picture of King Charles too."

As he worked on his latest painting - a landscape - Tony had some advice to offer to the new King.

"Be sensitive to the needs of the whole country generally," he said.

He also reflected on his own longevity. At 93, he still teaches art to a number of students, as well as painting himself.

The secret?

"Do sport, any sport. Mind activity as well. And don't smoke, and don't drink."