Thousands of mourners gather at the Kelpies to remember the Queen
Published on 18 September 2022 4 minutes read
Thousands of people attended a "Service of Reflection" in front of The Kelpies near Falkirk in honour of Her Majesty the Queen.
The gathering in the shadow of the largest equine sculptures in the world was led by Very Rev Dr Martin Fair, a former Moderator of the General Assembly, who knew the late monarch and spent time with her and the Royal Family at Balmoral.
A total of 96 lanterns, one for each year of Her Majesty's life, were lit and lowered into the Queen Elizabeth II Canal's pool of reflection.
Wreaths were laid, between 3,000 and 4,000 mourners silently paid their respects during the national minute silence at 8pm and lone piper, Euan Thomson, played "A Salute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II".
Rock of faith
Addressing the assembled crowd on the eve of Her Majesty's state funeral at Westminster Abbey in London, Dr Fair said: "Friends, we have come here tonight out of a sense of wanting to do something, to be with others in a dignified way, to pay our respects and acknowledge the remarkable service that was our Queen's.
"I trust that in the laying of wreaths, in the lighting of lanterns, in the silence and sounds of the pipes that you will sense that it was good to be here."
Dr Fair, who was the Moderator of the General Assembly 2020-21, said the Queen served her people tirelessly for 70 years and was a rock of stability amid the tumult of an ever-changing world.
"She was just there, unchanging, unflinching, resolute and calm," he added.
"Through it all, she stood on the rock that was her Christian faith which she acknowledged publicly over and again.
"Just last month, she declared: ‘Throughout my life, the message and teachings of Christ have been my guide and in them I find my hope.'
"In that and so much else, she has been an inspiration.
"In these and in coming days, may we find strength and hope as she did in the One who now says to her: ‘well done, good and faithful servant, welcome home.
"It's time for you to rest and to rest in peace, now and forevermore."
Committed to serve
Dr Fair, minister of St Andrew's Parish Church in Arbroath, Angus, said at the heart of the Queen's life was an unwavering sense of duty and public service.
"Martin Luther King once said ‘Anyone can be great because anyone can serve' and he was spot on," he added.
"From Kings and Queens to yous and mes, we can all serve.
"What if the lasting tribute to our Queen was more than processions and ceremonies?
"What if we, like her, committed ourselves to serve?
"We've acknowledged that the Queen was servant-hearted.
"Might you and I be likewise?
"That would be worth more than any statue and my guess is, the Queen would agree."
Rev Dr Shaw Paterson, Moderator of Forth Valley and Clydesdale Presbytery, led the gathering in prayer.
Almighty and everlasting God, someone we have loved has died, someone special to us, precious, irreplaceable in so many different ways; and so we gather together beside a canal named after Queen Elizabeth II, to reflect on her life, give thanks for her service, and pray for your strength and comfort in our loss.
Almighty God, with all across our nation and around the world we lift up our hearts in thanksgiving for the life of our Queen.
We thank you for her service and for her dedication to serve; we thank you for the commitment she has shown throughout her reign and for the example she has given to us.
For her long reign, for her genuine interest in everyone;
For her commitment to our country and the countries of the Commonwealth,
And today especially we recall gratefully her love of Scotland,
Our land and our people;
And we praise you for all you accomplished in her life, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and may her life serve as an example for us.
We acknowledge the outpouring of grief, which reflects the affection in which she has been held… an affection and love that has been earned through her 70-year reign and as we remember, we seek your comfort as we mourn, not just the death of Elizabeth, our Queen, but as we mourn the loss of our loved ones.
Give to us your strength and enable us to feel your peace. May the faith that sustained her through so much also sustain us as we journey through life.
Lord God, Queen Elizabeth will be missed by many, but we know that she is now safe in the fullness of Your presence, reunited with all who have gone before; and where there will be no more partings or tears.
Bless those close to her. We remember King Charles and the Royal Household who grieve the loss of a mother, grandmother, great grandmother, a relative and a friend.
May they know they are remembered by us. And bless our country at this time of change.
May we all work together as one family, and be ready to serve others, as our Queen served us. In the Name of Jesus, we ask this.