People had already started to queue at 8am and the Cathedral wasn't due to open until 9.30. At one point the queuing time was 5 hours and was circling around to Jubilee Square.
I had the wonderful job over the next few days of collecting in all the gifts and flowers from the public. The Cathedral Flower ladies made the displays in the Cathedral. The gifts and cards all went on display.
I don't think anyone had any idea the amount of gifts and flowers that were presented to the Cathedral. In the end we had ran out of baskets and space and we decided to do a carpet of flowers outside.
I had many gifts handed to me during the week, flowers, cards, but one of the most moving was from a Buddhist monk. He told me it was tradition to leave a silk cloth on the coffin, obviously I told him he couldn't leave it on the coffin, so instead he prayed on it in front of me and then handed it to me for safe keeping. I told him it would go with all the other gifts and cards and he was pleased with that.
|The yellow cloth is the silk scarf given by the Buddhist monk|
On the Tuesday night we had arranged a party at the local pub called the 'Rutland and Derby'. Over the past few months we had made many friends from around the globe and many were coming to Leicester for the week. Now I'm sure many will feel a celebration was disrespectful but it wasn't. We were celebrating our friendships. Who could have imagined two years ago we would be meeting in a pub, eating and drinking with people we never new existed. People from as far as the USA, Australia, New Zealand and Germany. It was fantastic. Ali had made bunting and I had attempted to make a cake, which unfortunately wasn't so fantastic, bit burnt with squashed icing, but, what the hell!!!!....