The end of a majestic era

I haven’t written in this blog for quite some time, I been busy collecting experiences to turn into blog post fodder for my merry band of followers.

But before I start to write and publish all the posts I have in my head at the moment, I just need to write this very special post.

This summer I was lucky enough to be a volunteer medic at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, but before I write about that due to the death of our beloved Queen I wanted to reflect on my amazing time at the Glasgow Commonwealth games in 2014. I was a field of play volunteer first aider for the opening ceremony, the Queen opened the games. My first aid partner, Scott, and I were positioned at stage left at the side of the track with a fantastic view of the performance, which is obviously why we were there, but also of the Queen as she was driven past. We were rewarded by her dazzling smile and a flash of her legendary bright blue eyes.

Up to now I had never given it a thought that there may be any footage of me at the games, but I wanted to double check whether the Queen was in a car or something else. So imagine my surprise when I discovered a Youtube video of the start of the Queen’s journey around the track with me and Scott in position.

This was a truly fantastic night and now that the Queen is dead it was the one and only time I sang the national anthem in her presence and it was an absolute honour to do so.

On Saturday 17th September I was one of the thousands of people compelled to join the queue to see our Queen lying in state. I travelled up from Bristol alone, but shortly after arriving in Southwark Park at the very start of the epic journey I made friends with my fellow queue dwellers, Amy, Emma, Sharon, Steffi and couple Amanda and Scott. Very quickly 7 strangers became friends, I set up a Whatsapp group so we could look out for each other on coffee and toilet breaks, we talked about everything and anything and supported one another for 10 hours as we weaved through the back streets and along the Thames to our final destination.

The first 8 hours went surprisingly quickly, but the last couple of hours in the organised queuing system outside Westminster Hall was soul destroying. We were definitely less animated as we inched along, our feet were numb, our joints were screaming and our backs felt like they were breaking, but we were determined to see it through together as a group. The feeling of relief was immense when we finally got through the security and into hall.

Although we only had 2 minutes to view and walk past the coffin, it was the moving and overwhelming experience.

When I left for London in the morning I had no plan for after I got out of the hall as I didn’t know how long I would be in the queue. Luckily I was rescued by my good work friends who happened be staying in Twickenham for the weekend, they gave me a place to sleep for the night when I couldn’t face arriving back in Bristol in the early hours.

So on Sunday we had a meander around Green Park to look at the lovely floral tributes and the wonderful messages left by children.

It was an amazing weekend and I’m so happy I decided to go and pay my respects to our fabulous Queen. I was so impressed with the organisation, everyone was so friendly and there was a lovely atmosphere. But mostly it was so heartwarming how strangers can become good friends.