Five Berkshire Scouts aged 18-25 were among a contingent of 120 from across the UK to give their time to support thousands of people paying their respects to HM The Queen at the Palace of Westminster in the past week.
The five Scouts, plus reserves, were selected from ten Berkshire Scouts who made themselves available at very short notice to be in London for a week as part of the so-called ‘Operation Feather’. The Scouts came from a ‘royal duties’ register kept by the County.
Over the 70 years of her reign, Scouts have promised to do their duty to The Queen and to help others. It has been an honour to see Scouts from across our County living our Promise at the Queen’s Lying in State. From helping visitors with accessibility needs to supporting those waiting many hours in the long queue, volunteers worked together to support visitors paying their respects.
The Scouts arrived at Gilwell Park on Tuesday afternoon and were briefed before turning in for an early night before the long days ahead. The first team headed into central London for the first shift at 5am on Wednesday morning. The Scouts worked in three shifts (24/7) to support the Lying in State and returned home late Monday.
Reflecting on the experience, Jack Bryant said: “It was an absolute honour and a privilege to be involved with Operation Feather, especially on the night team. We worked from 11pm-7am each day to ensure the public were not only safe, but in high spirits as they reached the final leg of their 10+ hour journey.
“We provided them with water, blankets, managed the food bank donations and just aimed to keep morale high into the early hours of the morning. I was even lucky enough to get the chance to pass through the hall and pay my respects in person. I finally got my chance to do my duty, and it’s a memory I’ll cherish for the rest of my life.”
It was also an immensely proud for Emily Pickett, who said: “It has been an honour to be one of 120 Scouts from across the UK selected to represent the Scouts at the Queen’s Lying in State over the past few days. Fulfilling our promise to do our duty to the Queen one last time, we helped with queue management, kept up the morale of those patiently waiting, whilst also answering any questions people had. I am so privileged to have had the opportunity to be a part of something so special and it is a memory that I will cherish forever. I have met some wonderful people who I can now call friends and I am so proud of everyone involved!”