Man awarded MBE in Queen’s last honours ‘grateful’ for chance to attend funeral

·3-min read
John Frace has paid tribute to the Queen after he was invited to attend her funeral on Monday (John Frace/PA) (PA Media)
John Frace has paid tribute to the Queen after he was invited to attend her funeral on Monday (John Frace/PA) (PA Media)

A man who was made an MBE in the Queen’s last birthday honours says he is “forever grateful” at having the chance to attend her funeral.

John Frace, 27, from Dunoon in Argyll, said it was hard to put into words the experience of attending the funeral, after being one of 182 MBEs invited to the service.

He received the honour after creating his website, TravellingTabby, which translated often complicated and hard to read data sets about hospital admissions and deaths into easily understandable numbers.

Mr Frace, a former student at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said the late monarch had been a “constant, calm presence” in his life.

In a thread on twitter outlining his experiences at the funeral, he added: “I had the honour of attending Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.

“It is hard to put the experience into words. At times it felt like a momentous celebration of her life, and at other times it was just a really sombre goodbye.

“Whether speaking to us through her annual Christmas messages, or in times of crisis, she was always there to provide comfort, soothe our minds, and help guide us forward.

“She was born into that life and became Queen by no choice of her own. But serving how she did, with the attitude she did, for the time she did, could never have been expected of her.

The Archbishop of Canterbury speaking during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)
The Archbishop of Canterbury speaking during the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey (Gareth Fuller/PA) (PA Wire)

“She used her position for only good, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for her.

“I don’t think there is any other individual whose death could have resulted in such a reaction.”

Hearing the bagpipes in Westminster Abbey, Mr Frace said, was an “incredibly powerful moment”.

He went on to say: “There was one moment that gave me chills, and maybe wasn’t experienced through the TV.

“Way off in the distance you could start to hear bagpipes.

“They started getting louder and louder and louder. The Abbey was in silence but the bagpipes echoed throughout.

“Hearing that come towards you, and knowing what it means, was a really incredible moment.

“Then we would all stand, the choir would sing, and the Queen’s coffin would pass by followed by the Royal Family. I think it all lasted about 15 minutes and was incredibly powerful.”

Mr Frace said it was the honour of his life to receive his MBE earlier in the year, in what would turn out to be the Queen’s last birthday honours.

He said it meant more to his mother, who died recently, than it did to him and for that, he had been “eternally grateful” to the late monarch.

Mr Frace added: “Even in death I think the MBE means more to my Mum than it ever could to me.

“So I will be eternally grateful to the late Queen for that. Thank you for everything ma’am, I hope you are resting easy.”