photo: Cheshire officers on duty at the Coronation.

A CHESHIRE officer made history when he was on duty at both the late Queen’s funeral and the new King’s Coronation. He had the honour of a prime spot in Westminster Abbey for both high-profile occasions.

Our colleague, a national firearms Instructor, said it was “absolutely amazing” to be part of history.

“I experienced two sides of History, naturally the atmosphere was very different for them both.”

He was impressed by the vastness and beauty of the Abbey, saying it was like “Chester Cathedral, but on an even grander scale!”

For the Queen’s funeral, he went down on Tuesday before the service the following Monday. As he was one of the first to arrive for duty, he was posted inside the Abbey.

The officer was surprised to find a school attached to the Abbey, which meant schoolchildren were milling about. He was in awe of the building’s history, and the number of great figures buried there such as Edward the Confessor and Queen Elizabeth I.

He has been to a number of significant buildings, but was still impressed by the Abbey.

After being allocated his funeral duties, his week was a whirlwind. He made a trip to Moss Brothers to be fitted for a Morning Suit, and then attended briefings and rehearsals.

“We had a rehearsal at 3am on Wednesday and it started to dawn on me what a big occasion this was. I realised I was a small cog in a very big machine – which would showcase my country to the world.”

Our officer was impressed by layers of security at the Abbey, Military Parade precision and organisational detail.  Thankfully due to the tight security the only duty he was needed for was some first aid for an usher that fainted during the service.

For the Coronation preparations he arrived on Monday for the Saturday event and had a series of briefings for the Abbey, Buckingham Palace and Lancaster House.

“I saw Charles, Camilla, Kate and Wills during rehearsals, and Penny Mordant who did brilliantly carrying the ceremonial sword,” he said.

On the Coronation Day he was up at 4am and had to be “on plot” at 6.30am ready for guests – including Ant and Dec and Lionel Ritchie – to arrive at their allocated time from 7.30am. World leaders and Heads of State used a separate entrance.

“People were up and about chatting and taking toilet breaks, we had to keep an eye on everyone to make sure nobody was keeling over”.

“Everyone was dressed up, the music was fantastic quality and when the choir sang it made the hairs on the back of the neck stand up, I felt like my heart would burst out of my chest with pride as the national anthem was sung” he said.

Our officer, who has worked in close protection for eight years, said part of his day included protecting the Crown Jewels and ensuring their safe return to the Tower. He worked with ceremonial guards The Yeoman Warders (Beefeaters).

“We had been on duty from 6.30am to 2pm, standing most of the time so my knees and back were very stiff by the end of duty.

“We saw the Red Arrows fly past, went back on the Tube, dropped the guns off and then went to the pub to debrief the day.”

His job involves training ARV officers as well teaching on National Close Protection Courses.  He supports MET protection when Royalty and Ministers visit Cheshire. He said the Coronation was the biggest police protection operation ever.

Friends, family and colleagues have been eager to hear about the day.

“It was a great honour for me to be involved in both occasions and be a part of history, I felt I was representing my family, friends and Cheshire Police in the Abbey and hope I made them proud,” he said.

“It was definitely the experience of a lifetime.”