Minister shares memories of the Queen ahead of leading memorial service at The Kelpies
Published on 17 September 2022 3 minutes read
Her Majesty the Queen's face "lit up" while recalling her sketch with Paddington Bear to mark her Platinum Jubilee.
Very Rev Dr Martin Fair said the late monarch described the encounter as "rather fun".
She shared her thoughts with the Moderator of the General Assembly 2020-21 during his stay at Balmoral Castle at the end of August.
In a sketch featuring the clumsy Peruvian bear inside Buckingham Palace, Her Majesty offers him her customary good-humoured hospitality and pulls a marmalade sandwich out of her handbag.
Speaking on the eve of a special service 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.
The outdoor evening service is being held in front of The Kelpies in Central Scotland- the largest equine sculptures in the world which stand 100 feet tall and weigh 300 tonnes each - at the Queen Elizabeth II Canal's pool of reflection tomorrow at 7.30pm.
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.
Located between Grangemouth and Falkirk, the Kelpies were created by artist Andy Scott and are modelled on Clydesdale horses, Duke and Baron, to represent the lineage of heavy horses which pulled wagons, ploughs, barges and coal ships in days of old.
Thanks for life of The Queen
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.
"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.
Respected and loved
Dr Fair, minister of St Andrew's Parish Church in Arbroath, Angus, 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.
"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?
"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'."