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To serve the King...

Laura, a Brownie leader from Mylor, shares her reflections on volunteering at the King's coronation.

Last September, following the death of HM Queen Elizabeth II, I renewed my Promise along with many other Girlguiding members with the new words 'To serve the King'. I got the opportunity to keep that part of my promise.

I was one of the around 150 members of Girlguiding who had the honour of being chosen to volunteer at the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Wow, what an amazing opportunity!

I got the train to London early on Friday morning and collected my accreditation so I could volunteer on site at Westminster Abbey on the Saturday.

I met another member of Girlguiding from her train and we went to our accommodation where we met others who were also staying, shared a take away and got an early night. None of us had met before, we had linked through a Girlguiding facebook group in the days before but as with any Girlguiding event we chatted as if we had always known each other.

4am alarms are not my idea of fun, but there was no problem getting up on Saturday morning and out in time to get the first underground train of the day, how strange to walk into an empty station! Once into Central London we walked to our meeting point ready to pass through security by 6am and to find out what our duties were to be. There were already guests gathering, an hour before they were to be let in to Westminster Abbey!

I was placed directly behind Westminster Abbey. I could hear and see the top of all the troops and marching bands as they gathered and marched towards Buckingham Palace, what a sound! I had to make sure that guests arriving got around a set of pavement bollards with uneven paving safely, which meant they had to walk further around than the direct route that many wanted. I got to see all the guests arriving in their beautiful outfits, then saw the very excited youth groups into St Margaret’s Church where they were to watch the service.

After all the guests had arrived I went into a very large catering tent to watch the Coronation service along with all the other volunteers based at the Abbey from Girlguiding, Scouts and Civil Service volunteers.

After the service I was helping at the bag drop reclaim point where people had had to leave anything they’d brought that they weren’t allowed to take into the abbey. It’s surprising what people had brought with them thinking they could take in! Everyone was very happy coming back through even though they were very wet.

And just like that the event was over and workers were dismantling everything around us - even before the events at the palace were finished! A group of us walked back through the crowds of people to Girlguiding HQ.

On Sunday morning before catching the train home, I went to The Tower of London. The Crown Jewels were closed as still being returned from the Coronation and I was about to leave thinking I had missed them when they opened so I stayed a little longer to view them.

The weekend was a truly once in a lifetime experience that I will always remember.

Thank you to Girlguiding Cornwall and Carrick South Division for your help towards my travel.



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