‘It was an honour and privilege to queue to stand before the Queen’s coffin’
A Skegness man said it had been an honour and privilege to see Queen Elizabeth 11 lying in State – in spite of queuing for 14 hours and the physical and emotional challenge of dealing with the cold in the depths of night.
Ady Findley travelled to London with his partner Sarah Staples to join the queue to Westminster Hall on Thursday teatime – and the poignant moment he stood before Her late Majesty’s coffin was captured by a family member from the live YouTube screening.
"Until that moment we had been in it together – supporting each other, making new friends along the way and raising each other’s spirits when we felt we could go no further,” he said.
"However, once in Westminster Hall it became personal – as exhausted as I was at that moment there was an adrenaline rush as emotions were overtaken.
"People were paying their respects in their own individual way – some bowing their heads and others visibly moved and in tears.
"For me it was a time to stand before the Queen’s coffin, bow my head and say ‘thank you and farewell’.
"It was an honour and a privilege to be there – an experience I will never forget.”
Ady said he had worked out that Her late Majesty’s 70 years’ service was 612,000 hours. “We had queued for 14 hours, it was the least we could do for what she had given us,” he said.
The experience began with a queue for wristbands for the main queue. “We had been in three queues before we got to main one,” Ady said.
"The camaraderie was amazing – I had broken my wrist three or four weeks earlier and was in quite a bit of pain but there was plenty of help.
"I was able to sit out for a short while at the zig-zag queue in Westminster gardens to rest my aches and pains.
"Some didn’t make it, though – we saw people collapse who had to leave the queue. The temperature dropped to 3C at 4am Friday morning – it was so cold.
"I feel so sad for those who didn’t make it because of stamina or health issues.
"However, when daylight came and we saw Westminster on the horizon it helped you to carry on.”