North East mum’s pride after son carried Queen’s coffin at funeral

·4-min read
David Sanderson, originally from Morpeth, was selected to be one of the eight soldiers from the Queen’s Company 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, who bore the oak casket in both London and Windsor Picture: PA
David Sanderson, originally from Morpeth, was selected to be one of the eight soldiers from the Queen’s Company 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, who bore the oak casket in both London and Windsor Picture: PA

As the nation and indeed the world watched the coverage of Queen Elizabeth’s funeral on Monday, there will doubtless have been a few tears shed up and down the land – but it was a particularly emotional moment for one North East family.

19-year-old David Sanderson, originally from Morpeth, was selected to be one of the eight soldiers from the Queen’s Company 1st Battalion, Grenadier Guards, who bore the oak casket in both London and Windsor.

The lead-lined coffin weighed in at more than 500lb and was draped in the Royal Standard. For David’s mum Carolyn, it was an extremely proud moment.

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She said: “I’m beyond proud. It has just been amazing. I still can’t believe it happened.

“We didn’t actually know anything because it was all private to the army. We were looking at some photographs of the rehearsal and my husband said it looked like our David.

“I looked and said ‘of course it is!’ It’s just wonderful. I think I’ve discovered a new emotion.

“We’re really upset about the Queen; I love the Royal family, I’m very much a royalist and it was an awful day when we heard she had passed. I had just stopped crying about the Queen and I started crying about David.”

Former King Edward VI School pupil David was positioned at the front on the right hand side of the casket. His mother said she had only spoken to him briefly since the occasion.

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The teenager joined the army three years ago, training at Harrogate and Catterick Garrison before joining up with the Grenadiar Guards – coincidentally, the same regiment his late grandfather John Sanderson completed his national service with.

The Queen had strong links to the regiment, the British Army’s most senior infantry division known for their distinctive red tunics and tall black bearskins.

Carolyn added: “He will never forget this. He looked after her from the very start to her last journey.

“Seeing him on the television going to Westminster Abbey was just amazing. I just lost it – that’s our David. They were all brilliant, I think it was perfect.”

Also praising David was Coun Glen Sanderson, the leader of Northumberland County Council – although the council boss was quick to stress he was no relation.

Speaking following a two minutes silence at Wednesday’s meeting of full council, Coun Sanderson said: “This has been a momentous week of sadness for our nation, the world and our county. Thank you to all the people, parish and town councils and churches for playing your part.

“I would also like to say a particular thanks to David Sanderson – no relative – a Morpethian who is a Grenadier Guard, and he was one of the pallbearers of her majestey’s coffin.”

Coun Sanderson also reminded those present that the county council is currently consulting on a potential memorial, or memorials, to Queen Elizabeth in Northumberland, with an online form opening up this week.

He added: “We look forward to launching our consultation for memorials, either in one place or across the county, that will firmly acknowledge our love for her late Majesty.”

Prior to the meeting, Coun Sanderson said: “I’m sure we all felt the shock and sadness of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and I think the events of the past fortnight showed us once again how much love there was and still is for her.

“Queen Elizabeth II touched the hearts and lives of so many people and we want to ensure this memorial is a place for all; a place where our residents and visitors can go to remember this great monarch.

“I do hope people can spare a few moments to let us know their thoughts. The results will be invaluable in helping us decide what form any memorial or memorials should take.”

Residents can have their say and let the council know their ideas by taking part in a short online consultation at nland.cc/Memorial.

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