Minister shares Queen's views on Paddington sketch ahead of service of reflection in Falkirk district

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Her Majesty the Queen described her Platinum Jubilee sketch with Paddington Bear as “rather fun”.

With a beaming smile, the late Monarch shared her thoughts with Church of Scotland minister, Very Rev Dr Martin Fair during his stay at Balmoral Castle at the end of August.

Speaking on the eve of a special service in Falkirk in honour of her memory, Dr Fair described the Queen as a “servant hearted” woman and said he is confident that she knew how much she was loved and respected across Scotland.

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The outdoor evening service is being held in front of The Kelpies at the Queen Elizabeth II Canal’s pool of reflection tomorrow at 7.30pm.

The Very Rev Dr Martin Fair will lead a service of reflection in memory of the Queen below the Kelpies on Sunday evening.The Very Rev Dr Martin Fair will lead a service of reflection in memory of the Queen below the Kelpies on Sunday evening.
The Very Rev Dr Martin Fair will lead a service of reflection in memory of the Queen below the Kelpies on Sunday evening.

People present will observe 96 lanterns, one for each year of Her Majesty’s life, floating into the water followed by the laying of wreaths led by Catherine Topley, CEO of Scottish Canals which has organised the event in partnership with the Church and Falkirk Council.

Mourners will collectively pay their respects to the late monarch during the national minute silence at 8pm and lone piper, Euan Thomson, will play `A Salute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II` to the crowd as they disperse.

Dr Fair, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland 2020-21, said: “I’m very much honoured to have been invited to speak at this special service to mark the passing of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth and give thanks for her life.

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“In only a very short time, the Kelpies have established themselves as one of the iconic sites in modern-day Scotland.

“I can scarcely think of a better location for this service, not least that the canal is named after Queen Elizabeth and she visited a few years ago with the Duke of Edinburgh.

“I look forward to sharing in the leading of a short act of worship with my colleague, Rev Shaw Paterson, Moderator of the Presbytery of Forth Valley and Clydesdale.”

The service is being held on the eve of Her Majesty’s state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London.

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Service of reflection to be held at the Kelpies on eve of Queen's state funeral

Dr Fair, minister of St Andrew’s Parish Church in Arbroath, said it was rather surreal to think that three weeks ago he was sitting next to the Queen having dinner at Balmoral Castle.

“It was an enormous privilege to have spent time with her and finding her in such good spirits, bright and sharp was a joy,” he recalled.

“We chatted about all manner of things from Scottish mountains to our respective dogs, to the cost of living crisis and her Platinum Jubilee celebrations,” he recalled.

“I asked her what her favourite bit had been and she answered, the Trooping of the Colour.

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“I responded: ‘Ma’am, if I might be as bold as to say that for me and many others, the highlight was the little tea-party that you shared with Paddington Bear.

“Her face lit up with the most radiant smile you could imagine and she said, ‘It was rather fun, wasn’t it?

“As I look back on that evening, I’m so glad that she was in such good form - smiling, laughing and enjoying the recounting of special memories.

“I said to her, ‘Ma’am, I hope you know just how much you’re respected and loved across Scotland?

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“The Queen paused for a moment then responded, ‘perhaps you’re right, after all one has been around for quite a while’.

“But she had a calm and gentle smile at that moment and I think she knew what I was saying and that she did know how much she was loved.

“I also assured her that people of faith across the country were upholding her in prayer and she answered ‘that’s most kind’.”

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