Stunning Kelpies tribute to Queen as Scotland falls silent

They floated 96 lanterns out – one for each year of a remarkable life.

A stunning Service of Reflection was conducted at the Kelpies on the eve of the Queen’s state funeral.

It came as people across the UK and beyond observed a minute’s silence at 8pm in memory of the monarch.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney marked silence outside the Scottish Government’s St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh, alongside other Scottish Ministers. Liz Truss stood outside 10 Downing Street with her head bowed.

The Kelpies are illuminated as members of the public hold a service of reflection to show their respect to the late Queen Elizabeth II

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The service at the Kelpies was conducted by the Very Reverend Martin Fair, a former Moderator of The Church of Scotland.

Dr Fair described the Queen as a “servant hearted” woman and said he was confident that she knew how much she was loved and respected across Scotland.

People present watched as the 96 lanterns floated into the water followed by the laying of wreaths led by Catherine Topley, CEO of Scottish Canals which organised the event in partnership with the Church and Falkirk Council.

Lone piper, Euan Thomson, played “A Salute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II” to the crowd as they dispersed.

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Speaking beforehand, Dr Fair 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.

“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.”

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.

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“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.

“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.

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“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? 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.”

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