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Farewell, Your Majesty: Derby prepares to say goodbye to Queen who served us all

today18 September 2022 2

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Derby is preparing to say a solemn farewell to Her Majesty The Queen ahead of the late monarch’s funeral on Monday, September 19. People from all walks of life have spoken of their united sadness, but also of their gratitude for her life of service and the chance to pay their own respects in London.

Abdul Shahid, 60, has been the owner of the Masala restaurant on Curzon Street in Derby for 20 years. He says his parents, Abdul Ghafoor and Anwara Didiwho, who he travelled with from Bangladesh to Derby in 1972 when he was 10 years old, passed on to him a love of the Queen and the Royal Family.

After seeing the Queen himself in 1977 during her Silver Jubilee, during which she made Derby a city, Abdul adds that he is proud to be a part of the Commonwealth, and says Her Majesty brought people of many different nationalities together.

Read more: Derby schoolboy will ‘treasure’ one of the last letters sent by the Queen

Mr Shahid said: “She was the monarch for 70 years and was a great leader, a great aspiration for everybody. She was a role model, and we’ll never get another one like her.

“I was there during the Silver Jubilee when Derby became a city. I remember she came to the city council building when I was young. I’ve still got a vivid memory of that. We all waved as she came down and said hello to everybody.

“We also had a street party, and everything was closed. It was a massive great party, with loads of tables out and it was a nice communal atmosphere with everybody.



Abdul Shahid
Abdul Shahid saw the Queen in person when she visited Derby in 1977

“I also remember buying a colour TV for when she went to Bangladesh in 1983. She actually visited our home town with Prince Philip. I saved up and bought the colour TV as we only had a black-and-white one before then.

“Because of the Queen’s work with the Commonwealth, she is highly respected by the Bangladeshi community in Derby.”



Queen in Derby, 1977
As part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977, she visited Derby and granted it city status

Amy Hartshorn, 29, from Kilburn, works at Denby Pottery. She said she had been making her mind up as to whether she would join the huge queue to see the Queen lying in state for a few days, as she was not sure if her auntie, Claire Vickers, 53, manager of a domestic violence charity, would be able to stand for so long.

But after keeping a close eye on the Government’s live queue tracker, and despite having to leave Derby at 4am, they were glad to join the line early on Sunday morning, September 18. Amy said: “We joined at 7.30am in Southwark Park and had to do a long walk through some zig-zagging barriers, quite a quick march.

“Our feet are aching a little bit, but not too bad. There’s also the beautiful weather, the sun is shining and we are seeing buildings and parts of London that we’ve never been to before. It’s very well managed and we have our wristbands.



Claire Vickers and her niece, Amy Hartshorn
Claire Vickers and her niece, Amy Hartshorn, queued to see the Queen lying in state on Sunday, September 18

“It’s also so multicultural. There are so many different people being part of it, just wanting to say thank you to the Queen for what she meant to us. She was a great-grandma and grandma, across the generations of our family.”

Also in the queue was James Palmer, 29, also from Kilburn, who works for UPS in sales. He said: “The Queen has always been that one constant in everyone’s life under the age of 70, really. I just about remember getting a bit emotional when the Queen Mother died.

“Today this is obviously a lot bigger. The Queen gave such committed service to the country and her people. She also stood by her values and lived through national events like world wars, Covid and decolonisation. She was a very important woman.”



James Palmer
James Palmer admires the committed service Her Majesty gave to her people

The landlord of the Neptune, a popular pub in The Spot, Derby, Steve Kirk, said he will be keeping the venue open on Monday so that his punters can raise their glasses and achieve some closure together. He said: “It’s hit me massively, it’s hit a lot of people massively. I’ve shed a tear every day. It’s been horrific, but I’m getting used to it.

It helped a lot going down to see the coffin and saying goodbye and thank you. But it was also very, very sad and there were a lot of tears. But then there was laughter as I and others reflected on the Queen’s life.

“The funeral will be sad and sombre at the start with everyone seeing the service. But when it’s finished, we’ll all raise a glass and feel a lot better. That’s always the case with a funeral. You’ll always miss them, but you have closure in that final moment.”



Steve Kirk, landlord of the Neptune
Steve Kirk, landlord of the Neptune, is keeping his doors open for the funeral so patrons can mourn together, but he did close upon the announcement of the Queen’s death

Martin Repton, Labour city councillor for the Darley ward in Derby, remembers playing snooker with the now King Charles when he visited Normanton in the 1980s. Cllr Repton said: “The length of the Queen’s reign spanned from I was born in 1952, so for the whole of my life I’ve known her as the Queen.

“She showed enormous dignity, compassion and respect for the whole of the nation and when she died it was a very sad and poignant day for Derby. I met the King when I was training as a youth worker in Normanton in the early 1980s, and me and the rest of the youngsters played snooker with him.

“I found him pleasant, he was warm and compassionate, and he had a good sense of humour. The youngsters in the youth club warmed to him.”

Conservative Derby City Council cabinet member Councillor Jerry Pearce was on holiday in Cyprus, a place dear to the late Queen’s heart after living in nearby Malta as a princess between 1949 and 1951, when Her Majesty passed away. He said: “When the news switched to the announcement, it was a shock. I know she was 96 and had a good life, but it was still a shock and I was numb for a few moments after.

“She of course wasn’t a relative, but she was somebody that everybody knew and grew up with. I’m 60 this year, and she was the only monarch I’ve known, it’s a strange situation.

“I’ve just come back off holiday and it was on all the news stations in Cyprus in the local hostels and such – fantastic to watch. That was also great to see all the hotels having their flags at half mast, it was really nice.

“She also had that pull throughout the world. It’s a very sad day for everybody. I love the monarchy myself, but I know that even the minority who don’t love her look at the Queen as a sort of mother, grandmother or great-grandmother. We’ve lost a part of our lives.”

Written by: Admin

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