Shropshire Star

'Even in death she brought us together' - Shropshire churchgoers gather for the Queen's funeral

Salopians gathered at churches across the county to say farewell to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, together.

The Queen's funeral was streamed live at Holy Trinity Church in Meole Brace, Shrewsbury

While roads and town centres were practically deserted as Shropshire stood still to pay respects to our longest-serving monarch, volunteers and church staff were at the ready to provide comfort and community to many wishing to be among other for a moment in history.

At Holy Trinity Church in Meole Brace, Shrewsbury, the Union Jack was flying at half mast as church bells filled the air with music as the sun broke through the clouds. Reverend Phil Cansdale welcomed people with tea, coffee and biscuits as they sat down to watch the spectacle on three large TV screens.

Around 50 people were in attendance including young and old. There were regular parishioners, but also several who aren't regular church-goers, who wanted to witness Her Majesty's funeral in the company of others.

A church filled with quiet but friendly chatter fell silent at around 10.50pm, as mourners were glued to the screen, moved by the gravity of the occasion.

The congregation observed the service impeccably, joining in with prayers and hymns. Many sang along to The Lord Is My Shepherd, and church-goers certainly found their voices for the rousing Love Divine. They also sang God Save The King and repeated The Lord's Prayer, standing to attention at the end from The Last Post until Her Majesty's coffin had been carried out of Westminster Abbey.

One mourner, Rachel Woods, said: "It was very moving. It was as you'd expect, but I still found it very emotional.

"It was nice to be around other people and to feel part of a community. I'm not a big royalist but I feel like she's been a part of my life forever. It feels very momentous.

"When they showed him (King Charles) as they were singing the national anthem, it must have really started to hit home for him."

Her friend, Natalie Hoskins, added: "I liked it (watching the service in the Meole Brace church). We're sad about the Queen, she was amazing,"

Marta Fedec, who is originally from Poland, took her four-year-old daughter Roksana to the church for the service. She said: "I live in Church Stretton so I'd never been to this church before, but I wanted to watch it somewhere with a big screen where other people are also there.

"Roksana understands what has been going on. She said when the Queen died she was sad. I always liked the Queen. Even in Poland everyone knows her. This is my home now and I wanted to celebrate her life.

"I really wanted Roksana to remember this day. She may only be four but she will remember parts of it."

One regular worshipper at Trinity Church is Simon Iddon, assistant headteacher at Meole Brace School. "I wanted to share it as part of the community, rather than watch it at home on the sofa," he said. Mr Iddon added that children at school had "taken a real interest" in everything going on surrounding the Queen's death. "Our young people have never experienced something like this," he said. "She had been Queen for their entire lives. It's a moment in history.

"Even in death she brought the country together."

Meole councillor Bernie Bentick said: "A very dignified service and we joined in with the hymns and prayers. Thank you to Rev Phil, the church clergy, staff and helpers for bringing the State Funeral to our church in Meole. Thank you to HM Queen Elizabeth II for your faith, kindness, humour and devotion to public service."

Rev Cansdale said the feeling among mourners at the church was one of "thankfulness" for the Queen's long life and a "life well lived".

Of the Queen he added: "She would have been very aware of how her faith was celebrated. She would have chosen all the hymns.

"She had a very different style of leadership. It was not about political power, but about serving. She was remarkable."

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