A JERSEY Fire and Rescue Service commander has described the ‘once-in-a-lifetime experience’ of marching in the late Queen’s funeral procession.
Ryan Hall, who has worked for the service for almost 23 years, said he was ‘in awe’ of the ‘absolute precision’ of the event, which involved members from a number of uniformed services.
He received the call from the UK Home Office less than 24 hours after the death of Her Majesty and had to be in London five days before the funeral to start rehearsals.
However, Mr Hall explained that it was in 2017 that he put his name forward to be involved in the event.
‘As it is such a high-profile event, [planning for] the whole thing has been under wraps for many years, and it was some time in 2017 when our service was asked whether we wanted to nominate someone for the march and, by 2019, I was on the shortlisted group with the Home Office,’ he said.
‘I arrived in London on the Wednesday of the week before the funeral. We ran a full dress rehearsal from 2am on the Thursday and in the days after that, leading up the event, we did foot drills with thousands of other people. It is crazy how everything is down to such a tee, and I was in awe of the absolute precision involved in getting the whole occasion right.’
Mr Hall was one of 16 officers chosen to represent the British fire and rescue service, and the group walked a total of 31 miles during rehearsals.
He said he was ‘humbled’ to have taken part in what he described as one of the ‘biggest-ever worldwide events.’
‘It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and is one of the stand-out moments of my career. I have had a lifetime exposure to discipline and so it is right up my street,’ he said. ‘Everyone was so pleased to be there and we had a strong tight-knit group. I made some great contacts and friends for life on that trip.’