Crowds gather at big screens put up across region for Queen's funeral

Hundreds of wellwishers turned out to say their final goodbyes to Queen Elizabeth II as they watched her state funeral on big screens set up in the region.

People watching the Queen's funeral in Queen Square, Wolverhampton
People watching the Queen's funeral in Queen Square, Wolverhampton

A diverse crowd gathered solemnly in Wolverhampton's Queen Square to watch the grand procession and service on a screen installed by the city council to give residents and visitors the opportunity to share the poignant occasion.

Shops stayed shut and the roads were quiet as the nation paused to say goodbye to the monarch, who died aged 96, on September 8 after a 70-year reign. All watched the television coverage in respectful silence. A few, who knew the words of the hymns, even joined in the singing.

People watching the Queen's funeral in Queen Square, Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton teacher Laura Watson, 31, her partner Zagee Zohair, 37, and ten-month-old son Owen were among the first families to take their seats shortly at about 10am as the bells tolled at nearby St Peter’s Collegiate Church to mark the event.

Ms Watson, of Finchfield, said: “We wanted to mark the occasion this way rather than sitting at home. We feel sad and thought we would come and share the moment with everyone else. I think she has left a legacy that will carry on for years to come.”

Mr Zohair, an engineer from New Jersey, United States, said: “Besides all her amazing qualities. I thought she had an amazing sense of humour. She had a personality that made everyone feel positive. She was a beautiful person.”

Denise Evans from Friar Park with Summer at Dartmouth Park, in West Bromwich

Liz Clemson, 46, a catering assistant, of Fordhouses, said: “I’m here to remember and celebrate the Queen’s life with everybody. It’s a sad occasion. I got up at 6.30am to watch it on TV when the Westminster Hall closed then I came here to watch it on the big screen with my daughter Chloe.

“I’ve watched as much of it as I could. I think it’s gone really well. My brother Mark printed some posters of the Queen with Paddington Bear which I brought with me to stick on the back of my chair.”

Pat Cooper, 70, of County Bridge, Willenhall, took her grand daughters Grace, 10, and Emily, aged five.

Rev Joe Smith at St Matthews Church in Walsall

She said: “I’m glad the council has made the effort. People may be watching from the comfort of their own homes, but I wanted to bring the grandchildren to soak in the atmosphere.

“This is something they will remember for the rest of their lives. It is a wonderful occasion. We are so proud of our country and what it means and we are looking forward to the future with our new king.”

Ranjit Singh, of All Saints, 42, and a Sikh attended wearing ceremonial dress and brought several young relatives.

People watching the Queen's funeral in Dartmouth Park, West Bromwich

His daughter Arshpreet Kaur Dhillon, 15, said: “We used to live in London and when I was about six the Queen and Prince Harry came to visit my school. I can’t remember why they came, but we’ve come along today to pay our respects.”

Denise Simms, 60, of Horseley Fields, attending with her grandson Caleb, aged five, said: “It was a case of either staying in the house to watch the funeral on the TV or coming out for a bit of exercise and watching on the big screen.

"It’s absolutely amazing. I’m glad that Wolverhampton has done this. We’re not going to see another queen in our lifetime although we now have a king who has been taught and brought up by the best.

People watching the Queen's funeral in Queen Square, Wolverhampton
People watching the Queen's funeral in Queen Square, Wolverhampton

“I’m also here because my mom, Joan Beech, passed away on August 3 and she was 90-years-old. She had the Queen in the whole of her lifetime which I will never forget. I know she would have loved to know we came to pay our respects.”

Former minister George Okello, 66, of Birmingham, who moved to the UK 30 years ago, said: “I’m from Uganda and I feel I have a connection with the royals as I was baptised as George when I was six-months-old. It wasn’t my birth name.”

Liz Roden watching Queen's funeral at the Billy Wright pub, Wolverhampton
Denise Evans with Summer

Other public screenings included one at Dartmouth Park, in West Bromwich.

Denise Evans, from Friar Park, was at the park exercising Summer the horse from Eaton Valley Primary School in West Bromwich and said she had stopped to see some of the service on the big screen.

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