Mark Jones, local coordinator of the church, said: ‘I think that it’s really important to give the community a place to come together in times like this. Often, I find grieving like this brings up other scars from your life, so to come together and grieve is really important
‘We’ve had new and regular faces come through today. We want to make today, like all of our events, a place for anyone, regardless of their faith.’
People gathered at Hope Church to watch the proceedings from 10 o’clock, with tea, coffee and refreshments.
Linda, a regular church-goer from Dawlish and her daughter Samantha, from Teignmouth saw it important to pay their respects to a figure that had been a constant in their lives. Linda said: ‘I have followed the queen throughout her reign, and it’s so sad as she was such a remarkable role model and she touched so many lives
‘I was five for her coronation, we were living in Hong Kong at the time, so I feel like I’ve grown up with her. Everything’s changed but she has remained a constant. Throughout my life, I have celebrated the jubilees and birthdays and stuff as a community, so it’s fitting to come together for the sad times and give the Queen a final farewell together. This day is sad, but it also brings back all the happy memories I have of her coronations and weddings, and how those days also played a big part in my life.’
Samantha said: ‘I think that there are so few people that can remember what it was like before her - she’s been steadfast in so many people’s lives. She’s forever been a part of my Christmas Day, although I think that Charles will continue to do a great job with the speeches
'I want the family to have their time now, to be together and out of the spot life so they can actually absorb their loss and be there for each other.
‘I know they’ve been brought up in this life and they have planned this for some time, but it must still be hard for them, because for them it’s not the queen, it’s grandma or mum’
Ros Partridge, another regular attendee of the Church congregation said: ‘I could have stayed at home and watched it but it’s much nicer to come in and be with the community.
‘I suppose no matter how much you expect it, it’s still a shock and a sad moment for everyone - you know it’s coming but you never expect it’
Like many, Ros was deeply affected by the death as she found that her and Elizabeth’s life were so often intertwined: ‘I have a sister that’s four years older than me and that gave us an affinity with Elizabeth and Margret because we were a similar kind of age.
‘She’s been an amazing lady and her Christian faith has been unwavering. It’s united people from all walks of life
People also gathered at Dawlish URC Church and the Gresham House Inn to watch the proceedings. Pub owner Kate Henley made sure the doors to her pub were open for anyone who wanted to watch, making sure there were plenty of tiffins - allegedly the Queen’s favourite cake - to go around. Kate said: ‘We must remember all that she’s done for the country, but also that she’s someone's mum and someone’s gran. We wanted to make sure that no one had to be alone today.’