Thousands of charity volunteers and staff are supporting those in the queue to pay their respects to the Queen as she lies in state at the Palace of Westminster over the weekend.
The route begins on the Albert Embankment by Lambeth Bridge and continues along the South Bank to the Palace of Westminster. As of Thursday evening, the queue stretched for over four miles with the queuing time estimated at at least nine hours.
More than 1,000 dedicated volunteers, stewards and Metropolitan Police officers are on hand to assist. St John Ambulance will be stationed along the route to provide first aid if required.
Up to 2,000 of St John Ambulance’s volunteers and employees – including healthcare professionals – are supporting in London and Windsor, and include first aiders, cycle responders, ambulance crews and doctors.
In London St John Ambulance has 30 bases, from pop-up treatment centres to purpose-built temporary field hospital facilities in Hyde Park, St James’s Park and by Lancaster House, while in Windsor it is providing treatment centres, first aiders and ambulances.
Mike Gibbons, Commissioner Operations for St John, said:
“In our planning for this sad occasion, we estimated we’d need around a thousand volunteers, but more than double that have said they can make themselves available.
“As the Sovereign Head of our parent charity, the Order of St John, The Queen had a long history with St John Ambulance, and we are not at all surprised we have had such a positive response from our fantastic people willing to help.”
“Our charity’s volunteers and employees are out there helping keep people as safe as possible as they pay their respects. I know all St John people will take great pride in doing so, and I’d like to thank all of them for their efforts.”
In addition to the St John Ambulance volunteers, more than a hundred Scouts aged between 18 and 25 from across the UK are joining volunteers from Samaritans and British Red Cross to offer help where it is needed.
Around 180 Samaritans volunteers are joining volunteers, stewards and police to provide support for those queuing to pay their respects, including near sites of public mourning such as Green Park.
Keith Leslie, Chair of Samaritans, said:
“His Majesty The King is Samaritans’ patron and we are honoured to have been appointed the official emotional support service for members of the public during the 10 days of mourning. Our listening volunteers are on hand at the Lying-In-State queue to listen and support anyone who would like to talk openly about how they are feeling.
“We know the value of listening and the power of human connection, particularly at times like this so we encourage anyone struggling with the news to open up –whether that’s with Samaritans, a friend or a family member. It can help work through what you are facing and put things into perspective.”
Over 140 British Red Cross volunteers are providing emotional and wellbeing support to the public.
Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said:
“This is a significant historical moment and we’re proud to be part of the official memorial activities for Her Majesty The Queen, who was our Patron for seven decades.
“Over 140 British Red Cross volunteers, representing every nation in the UK, will provide emotional and wellbeing support to the public while they pay their respects to The Queen and her lifetime of service over the coming days.
“Our volunteers have already supported the crowds as the cortege travelled through Scotland and our focus will now switch to London to support the huge number of people expected to visit The Queen Lying-in-State.”
The Lying-in-State opened to the public at 5pm on Wednesday, 14 September, and is open 24 hours a day until 6.30am on Monday, 19 September – the day of the funeral.