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

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A man who was made an MBE in honor of the Queen’s final birthday says he is “forever grateful” to have the opportunity to attend her funeral.

John Fress, 27, of Dunnoon in Argyll, said it was difficult to put into words the experience of attending a funeral after being one of 182 MBEs invited to the service.

He gained the honor after creating his website TravelingTabby, which translated data sets about hospital admissions and deaths into easily understandable numbers, often complex and difficult to read.

Mr Fress, an alumnus of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said the late monarch was a “constant, calm presence” in his life.

In a thread on Twitter, outlining her experiences at the funeral, she said: “I have the honor of attending the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey.

“The experience is hard to put into words. Sometimes it felt like a momentous celebration of her life, and sometimes it was actually a mournful goodbye.

“Whether she was talking us through her annual Christmas messages, or in times of crisis, she was always there to provide comfort, calm our mind and help us move forward.

“She was born into that life and became queen without her choice. But she could never have been expected of her for the time she served, the way she served, the attitude with which she did.

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

“He used his position only for good, and I have nothing but respect and admiration for him.

“I don’t think there is anyone else whose death could have resulted in such a reaction.”

Hearing the bagpipes at Westminster Abbey, Mr Fress said, it was an “incredibly powerful moment”.

He continued: “There was a moment that gave me chills, and that probably wasn’t experienced through TV.

“From a distance you can start to hear the bagpipes.

“They started getting louder and louder and louder. Abhay was silent but the bagpipes echoed all around.

“Listening to what comes to you, and knowing what it means, was a truly incredible moment.

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

Mr Fress said it was an honor in his life that he received his MBE at the start of the year, which would be in honor of the Queen’s final birthday.

He said it meant more to his mother, who had recently died, than it was to him, and for that, he was “forever grateful” to the late emperor.

Mr Fress said: “Even in death I feel the MBE means more to my mother than it could have ever meant to me.

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

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