Live from London: The local reporters joining mourners to record a moment in history

Among the hundreds of thousands of people who have queued to see the Queen lying-in-state were local journalists from around the UK, keen to share experiences with readers of regional newspapers and websites.

Daniel Green, a reporter on the Brighton Argus, made an early start in the Capital to join the queue when it was two miles long, stretching back to the Tate Modern.

He wrote: “It was incredible to see people from all generations and backgrounds represented in the queue to pay their respects to the Queen — all of us united in grief, but also appreciation and celebration of her amazing life.

“After going past security, we slowly walked towards the Palace of Westminster. I turned a corner into the building and a hush descended.

“The chatter from outside abruptly ended and the mood became instantly more solemn as I climbed a small flight of stairs towards the hall itself.

“As I walked into Westminster Hall and saw the Queen’s coffin, my emotions got the better of me.

“I was reminded of her decades of service to the nation, her brilliant wit, and how one of our last historical links to the generation that fought in the Second World War was now sadly and irrevocably broken.”

Stephen Topping, a reporter at the Manchester Evening News joined the queue hours before the Queen’s coffin arrived at Westminster Hall — when it was just a mile long.

Stephen wrote: “Strangers mingled and bonded in the line with a buzz of excitement. This was history in the making. It was, of course, tinged with the sadness of the Queen’s passing just a week ago. A mourner in the queue commented on how she had ‘deteriorated’ so soon and ‘must have been holding on’ to invite Liz Truss as her new Prime Minister two days earlier.

“Volunteers from the Samaritans asked those in the queue if everyone was okay. Arms were folded by some in the line, others took little shuffles side-by-side to take the weight off each leg. If this was the ultimate test of British queueing skill, it was already looking mighty.

“Suddenly, drama, as a woman clutching a copy of the Metro stands next to the queue near the front of our section — hours after the line had long since tailed back for miles. A man asks if she is jumping the queue, she doesn’t reply. It takes a minute of questioning before she eventually goes. She’s not the only one who tries their luck, but this crowd won’t stand for queue jumpers.”

Kieran Kelly joined the queue at 6.30am.

Local London title MyLondon sent reporter Kieran Kelly to report from the queue.

He ended up queuing for 12 hours but told readers he had enjoyed every single minute.

He wrote: “It felt like the best of humanity and the best of London. It was a gloriously sunny day and I saw nearly every landmark from Tower Bridge and the London Eye to the Houses of Parliament and of course, Westminster Hall. The staff on hand to help were incredible too, offering free bottles of water at every turn, asking if we were okay and making jokes. Someone even bought me a coffee.

“All while hundreds of thousands of people queued from Westminster Hall to Southwark Park with impeccable behaviour. It just felt so British. Not only that but after seeing the Queen, I was incredibly proud to be British. The whole experience brought a raft of emotions, one’s I didn’t know I’d feel until I arrived at the coffin 12 hours after joining the queue. There’s no doubt that it’s absolutely worth it.”

Sofia Akin and Gabriel Morris, from Kent-based KMTV, filmed for their TV station and reported for KentOnline from the queue.

They wrote: “Arriving at 2.30pm with the expectation of a wait in excess of 30 hours we came prepared with overnight warm clothes, plenty of food and water and more portable chargers than necessary.

“While the eventual eight-hour wait was tiring it was a great experience.

“The atmosphere was great. Everyone in line was really kind and we made some friends along the way.

“Someone helped us carry all our bags, a nice woman bought me a cup of tea and a lovely Geordie family kept feeding us snacks.”

Richard Lemmer, of the News in Portsmouth, joined the queue as he sought out people from Hampshire and Portsmouth in the Capital.

He wrote: “Walking the length of the queue, I saw and spoke with veterans with their medals of service, retirees who could just remember the last King’s funeral, and handfuls of people with coats, sunglasses and scarves adorned with Union flags.

“People spoke not just of wanting to be part of the commiserations — but needing to be part of them, a compulsion generated by 70 years of diligent and distinguished service from the much-loved Monarch.”

Reporters have also been offered press access, allowing them to report from inside Westminster Hall without queuing.

Jasmine Norden, from YorkshireLive, spent time with those queuing after being given press access to Westminster Hall, walking the five miles of queues looking for people from Yorkshire.

Jasmine wrote: “I was particularly hoping to find someone else who had also made the journey down from Yorkshire — this is YorkshireLive after all — but thought it would be like looking for a needle in a haystack. However, I struck gold much quicker than I expected.

“I doubt I’ll see anything like the thousands of people I watched streaming into a narrow line ever again. I left hoping every single person I interviewed got to have the emotional paying of respects they had hoped for.”

Last week, the Northern Echo’s digital and content editor Nick Gullon had travelled to London to report from outside Buckingham Palace in the hours after the Queen’s death.

Writing on the Echo website, Nick said: “Wherever you come from, whatever you do, there was a unity among the scores of people who had turned up to Buckingham Palace on Friday lunchtime to remember the monarch — the only one they will have known in their lifetime — and to welcome the new King with messages of support and comfort for his mother.”



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