‘Whole world has lost a grandmother figure’

A NEW monarch was proclaimed at Rotherham Town Hall during a service led by the town’s mayor.

Cllr Tajamal Khan led the formal service for King Charles III on Sunday, which followed a model replicated in towns and cities across the country, including just down the road in Maltby.

The service, which in Rotherham was attended by council leader Cllr Chris Read and chief executive Sharon Kemp, and attended by a small crowd, is a part of the formal procession of succession following the death of Queen Elizabeth II at 96 last Thursday.

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The Maltby proclamation ceremony was led by the Earl of Scarbrough, with MP Alexander Stafford, Maltby town and borough councillors, emergency services officers and members of the Royal British Legion looking on.

Maltby Miner’s Welfare band played the new national anthem God Save the King.

The new king had earlier been officially proclaimed during a ceremony in London on Saturday by the Accession Council, which included Wentworth & Dearne MP John Healey, who is a privy councillor.

Buckingham Palace announced on Sunday that the Queen’s funeral will be held at Westminster Abbey on Monday, which will be an official bank holiday.

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The mayor laid an official bouquet in memory of Her Majesty at Rotherham’s Heart on Steel on Friday —where many more floral tributes have been placed since — and signed the book of condolence at Rotherham Minster.

After laying his bouquet, the mayor said the Queen “leaves a fantastic legacy for humanity, serving as a monarch throughout her long life, being an example and leading the way”.

He added: “This is a very sad occasion. We have lost a grandmother and a mother figure for our nation and for the whole world.

“Every individual in the UK will be affected by the passing of the Queen, as will people across the world.

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“There’s no doubt about it — the people’s affection, respect and love for Her Majesty is unreal.

“As Mayor of Rotherham, I stand by the communities here, in the country and across the world and hope we can come together and mourn together. She brought communities together in her life and she will bring us together in her passing. It’s a great loss.

“She was a fantastic role model and she reached all age groups from children to the elderly. There are not many individuals that touched every generation.

“My thoughts are with the Royal Family and I know they have the sympathies of our community, and those across the UK and the world at this most difficult time.”

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Mr Healey joined other politicians in laying flowers outside Buckingham Palace.

“My thoughts, and those of everyone in our area, are with the Royal Family at this very sad time,” he said.

“This is the moment we knew must come but never wanted.

“The Queen dedicated her whole life to serving the people of the United Kingdom, and the country is now in mourning at our loss.

“I laid flowers and paid respects to the Queen at Buckingham Palace gates on behalf of constituents in Wentworth & Dearne. I know this is what so many would want to do, but can’t.”

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Rotherham MP Sarah Champion was also among those paying tribute in London.

She described the Queen as “a source of stability but also inspiration”. The MP added: “No-one can deny her dedication to the public of this great nation — the commitment, the work ethic.

“She pledged her life at 21 to public service, at 25 she unexpectedly became queen, when she was a very young woman with children in a very male world.

“What she sums up for me is matriarchy. She was always there, giving guidance, looking out and protecting us and the interests of our country and for that I think we all owe a deep sense of gratitude.”

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The region’s police commissioner Dr Alan Billings said the news had caused “great sadness” — adding: “I join the people of South Yorkshire, the nation, and indeed the whole world, in entering a period of mourning.

“The Queen dedicated her life to the British people and served with dignity throughout her 70-year reign.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the royal family at this time.”

Chief Constable Lauren Poultney, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “We are deeply saddened by the news of the passing of Her Majesty the Queen.

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“She was a constant for all of us, and a remarkable woman whose devotion and service for this country will forever be remembered.

“As servants to the crown, it has been an incredible honour to serve Her Majesty the Queen and our thoughts remain with the Royal Family at this sad time.”

Gavin Boyle, chief executive at NHS South Yorkshire, said the organisation would like to send heartfelt condolences to the royal family at this time of national mourning.

“The Queen dedicated her life to public service,” he added.

“We will always be grateful for the way she recognised the compassion and courage of those who worked in health and care.”