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Ipswich comes out to see Queen Elizabeth II's funeral





Ipswich's Cornhill was full of people wishing to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II today after a screen was set up to broadcast her funeral.

Ipswich Borough Council wanted a public place for the community to pay tribute and gather on the final day of national mourning.

A screen was set up in front of the Old Grimwades shop that allowed the public to pay their respects to the monarch.

Hundreds of people turned up to see The Queen's funeral at Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: Ash Jones
Hundreds of people turned up to see The Queen's funeral at Ipswich Cornhill. Picture: Ash Jones

The public started turning up at around 10am, with the funeral starting at 11am.

Councillor John Cook, the Mayor of Ipswich, revealed the town was proud of its outdoor events, and wanted there to be somewhere where everyone was welcome for the day.

He said: "We're conscious of people who may live alone or those without a television set who will wish to watch the funeral - it's about bringing together the community in celebration of the Queen's life."

Councillor John Cook is Mayor of Ipswich. Picture: Ash Jones
Councillor John Cook is Mayor of Ipswich. Picture: Ash Jones

Cllr Cook, 58, added the Queen has been a constant figure in his and many others' lives over the past seven decades.

Many people alive today will have known no other monarch.

He said: "It all feels very different. We're so used to having a Queen - we still have to correct ourselves when singing the new national anthem.

"Even for my parents' generation, my father being born the year George V died, she was still a strong presence. By the time my father was doing his national service, he also swore his oath to the Queen.

Residents from Ipswich came to watch the funeral - pictured here shortly before the procession started. Picture: Ash Jones
Residents from Ipswich came to watch the funeral - pictured here shortly before the procession started. Picture: Ash Jones

"At the age of eight, I joined the cub scouts and also swore to honour her. She reigned for 70 years, that's an amazingly long time. Think about how the country, and the world, has changed in that time."

He recalled a sense of uncertainty when news of her death was announced.

Cllr Cook thanked the Queen for her years of service.

Public events like this are something the council takes great pride in, having also screened the Platinum Jubilee earlier this year.

The screening is the only one of its kind in Suffolk, and Ipswich Borough Council hoped people would come from all over to pay their respects, as they did last weekend for the proclamation of King Charles III.

Many veterans turned up to the event to pay homage to their Commander-in-Chief.

Carl Brassington, 64, who joined the Royal Navy at the age of 17, is a veteran of the Falklands War and did two tours of Northern Ireland.

Trevor Woodgate, Carl Brassington ad Stephen Black came to pay their respect to their Commander-in-Chief. Picture: Ash Jones
Trevor Woodgate, Carl Brassington ad Stephen Black came to pay their respect to their Commander-in-Chief. Picture: Ash Jones

Mr Brassington said: "The Queen meant a lot to not just me, but everyone. She was a steadfast person and we had a lot of respect for her, and she in turn, had a lot of respect for the military.

"The event being public is a great idea. People can get together, feel together and create memories together."

Trevor Woodgate, 64, was also a veteran of the Falklands and Northern Ireland, having also served in Belize and other places during his service.

He added: "The Queen was my boss from the time I joined up, and she has seen the respect of myself and other service members ever since.

People started turning up for the event at 10am, and by 11am, the crowds had started building up. Picture: Ash Jones
People started turning up for the event at 10am, and by 11am, the crowds had started building up. Picture: Ash Jones

"She is the only monarch I have known, and now she's gone, it is a huge wrench to us."

He believes Elizabeth II was a defining person for the nation and thanked her for her service.

Mr Woodgate felt the funeral should be public and encouraged everyone to watch it.

Stephen Black, 52, is a veteran of the Army Air Corps, and served with both Princes William and Harry.

He said it was nice to see a good turn out to the event in Ipswich.

Mr Black added: "I decided to do the event in Ipswich, but I have friends who went to London.

"The Queen was a rock for this nation, and all we as veterans can do, is be here for her as they send her off."

Among the youngest visitors to the event was six-year-old Ezra Harris.

Six-year-old Ezra Harris came to watch the event with his parents. Picture: Ash Jones
Six-year-old Ezra Harris came to watch the event with his parents. Picture: Ash Jones

He attended because he wanted to see the funeral because he loved the Queen.

"I like the Queen, she was a good Queen - she means everything to me.

"I like that she's the longest-serving monarch. I like that the event is public, to give us somewhere as a community to watch it and celebrate her life with others."

Antonio Bellini, and his wife, Felice, 60, also came to pay tribute.

Mr Bellini owns The Italian Shirt Shop on the waterfront.

Antonio and Felice Bellini wanted to go to London to pay their respects, but decided to stay in Ipswich to watch the funeral. Picture: Ash Jones
Antonio and Felice Bellini wanted to go to London to pay their respects, but decided to stay in Ipswich to watch the funeral. Picture: Ash Jones

He has been a resident of the town for 14 years, while Felice has lived there all her life.

Antonio said: "It's lovely they are marking this occasion here in Ipswich, because I desperately wanted to be there in London, but it is hitting overcapacity. So here we are watching it on the screen in the Cornhill."

Mrs Bellini added that the Queen was the fabric of the country and was an iconic figure for the entire world.

She concluded: "It being public is a fantastic idea from the council. It makes use of the Cornhill space.

"It's important to be a part of the history that is being made today and I'm thrilled so many people have come to pay their respects."