East Devon has joined the nation in mourning Her Majesty the Queen, who died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon (Thursday, September 8), aged 96.
Tributes are flooding in from across Devon as the county and beyond comes together in shock at the loss of the much-loved monarch, marking the end of an era.
Flags are being lowered throughout East Devon and books of condolences will be open throughout the county for those wishing to leave their own tributes to our longest-serving monarch.
In Sidmouth, flags will be flown at half-mast at Woolcombe House and the Three-Cornered Plot and all council buildings across East Devon.
Those in East Devon wishing to leave floral tributes as a mark of respect to Queen Elizabeth II – a woman who pledged her whole life to her country, and people – are invited to place them on the paved area in front of Blackdown House, in Honiton, at the war memorial at The Strand, in Exmouth, the lawn, in Windsor Gardens, Seaton, and on The Green, at Budleigh Salterton.
Church bells began tolling at noon on Friday (September 9) in towns and villages in East Devon, and the rest of the UK. Below is the sound of the muffled bell toll at St John the Baptist Church, Broadclyst, East Devon.
Leading the tributes on hearing Buckingham Palace’s announcement the Queen had died was The Lord Lieutenant for Devon, David Fursdon – who spoke warmly of her ‘special fondness’ for the county.
The Lord-Lieutenant for Devon, the Queen’s representative in the county, David Fursdon, said: “It is with great sadness that we have heard of the death of Her Majesty, The Queen.
“This brings to an end the incredible reign of someone who will surely go down in history as one of our greatest monarchs.
“Very many of us have known no one else on the throne, throughout that long period. She has been a rock standing steadfast among the swirling currents of our times, and she will be very sorely missed.
“We know that as a young princess, it was in Devon at the Britannia Royal Naval College that she met the man who was to become her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. So, she had a special fondness for the county from that time onwards.
“She was always passionate about our military forces and so looked with pride on the serving personnel based in our county.
“She was, for example, Patron of the Royal Marines Association, which represents Royal Marines who have retired. She also came to the Cadet 150 at Wyvern Barracks in Exeter in 2010.
“She opened part of the post-war development in Exeter in 1949 as Princess Elizabeth, lending her name to it subsequently, Princess Hay.
“She visited Exeter, Plymouth and Torbay, and these were regular visits carried out throughout her reign.
“But of course, she came to Devon in all her Jubilee tours on the Silver Jubilee the Golden Jubilee and the Diamond Jubilee.
“Overall then she probably visited us every three or four years throughout her long reign.
“I was lucky enough to host her when she visited the Devonport Dockyard for the decommissioning of her ship, HMS Ocean, in 2018, and I witnessed then the love and support of the public on that day.
“I’ve also had the honour of presenting the medal that bears her name, the Elizabeth Cross, which recognises the families of those who have been lost in conflict.
“She declared after the death of her father that her whole life, whether it be short or long, would be devoted to the service of us all.
“She certainly carried out that promise, and we remember her today with love and thanks for all that she has done for us.”
The Bishop of Exeter, the Right Reverend Robert Atwell, said: “The death of the Queen represents a huge watershed in the life of our nation.
“Like the majority of the population, I cannot remember a time when Queen Elizabeth was not on the throne. She combined a strong sense of duty with a deep Christian faith.
“She had an extraordinary ability to generate goodwill by celebrating the work of ordinary people and charities, and by encouraging service to others.
“She was a very private person who was public property, someone whom the world over was held in great affection and esteem. This nation – and the church of which she was head – owe her an enormous debt of gratitude.
“May she rest in peace and rise in glory.”
The chairman of Devon County Council, Cllr Ian Hall, said: “It is with great sadness that we hear of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“On behalf of the people of the county of Devon, I convey that sadness and send our deepest sympathies to the Royal Family.
“Her Majesty the Queen visited Devon on many occasions since meeting for the first time Prince Philip at the Royal Naval College in Devon.
“She and the Duke of Edinburgh returned on numerous occasions to our county, which they were both always fond of.
“As our monarch, she has dedicated her life to her country in all that she has done, and with unwavering support to all our armed forces.
“With commitment and energy and even into our later years and as a mother, grandmother, wife and matriarch, she has shown no less a commitment to her family.
“Her family and the country will miss her greatly.
“She will, however, continue to be an example to us all.”
Simon Jupp, MP for East Devon, said: “My thoughts are with the Royal Family as we mourn at this difficult time.
“Our nation has lost a truly remarkable person who exemplified public service throughout her incredible life.
“Her Majesty The Queen demonstrated a profound strength of character throughout many difficult moments during her long reign as our monarch – the longest in our country’s history.
“During many visits to Devon, Her Majesty The Queen was always greeted with the warmth you would expect from our wonderful county.
“We have lost an incredible individual who will live on in all of our hearts.”
Tiverton and Honiton MP, Richard Foord, said: “For over 70 years her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was a figure of unity and stability for everyone across the UK.
“She embodied the very best of Britain, selflessly devoting herself to serving the people of our proud county without respite or complaint until the very end.
“As Head of the Commonwealth, she championed the values of freedom and compassion. Helping to bring nations together throughout her reign.
“She was also Commander-in-Chief of our Armed Forces, and I know just how much she was respected by those who have served in her name.
“She was frankly an incredible figure who shall forever be remembered for the sense of duty she personified. May she rest in peace.”
Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, said: “I would like to extend my deepest condolences to His Majesty the King and the rest of the Royal Family on the death of the Queen.
“Her consistency and sense of duty and service have been inspirational to millions in the United Kingdom and around the world.
“I feel immensely privileged to have served her, as one of her ministers, and will miss her reassuring presence in our national life greatly.”
In Exeter, books of condolence have been opened and floral tributes can be left outside Exeter Cathedral.
Leader of the Exeter City Council Cllr Phil Bialyk said: “This is an extremely sad time as we mourn the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“We have opened books of condolence at the historic Guildhall, Exeter Cathedral, Royal Albert Memorial Museum and County Hall, so people can pay their respects. People also have the opportunity to lay tributes outside the North Door at Exeter Cathedral.
“For the majority of people in Exeter they will only have ever known a time when the Queen was on the throne; to lose our longest reigning monarch is very sad.”
Devon and Cornwall Police said the force was ‘deeply saddened’ to hear of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.
Temporary Chief Constable Jim Colwell said: “It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth today. On behalf of everyone at Devon and Cornwall Police, I send our deepest condolences to The Royal Family at this very sad time.
“Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth has been a source of comfort and stability for millions of people across the world over her long and enduring reign of 70 years. She has ruled for longer than any other monarch in British history and is a much-loved figure across the world.
“With an unwavering devotion to serving the public both here and in the Commonwealth, she has been an important figurehead throughout the decades.
“There is a very sad mood across the force today and our entire police family joins the nation in mourning this sad news.”
He said flags would be flown at half-mast at the force’s headquarters at Middlemoor, in Exeter, at force locations in Bodmin, Truro, and Camborne; police stations in Cornwall, and Charles Cross and Crownhill in Plymouth.
He added: “We will be coming together as a Force to support the communities of Devon and Cornwall over the coming days as they reflect on Her Majesty’s reign and mark this historic moment in time.”
Councillor Ian Thomas, East Devon District Council Chair, said: “On behalf of the people of East Devon and the district council, I would like to express my sincere condolences to the Royal Family following the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
“She was much-loved and admired across the country and the wider Commonwealth for her elegance and kindness to those she met in the course of her public duties.
“The Queen’s dedication and contributions to the service of the country for a historic 70 years was unfailing, and will be remembered by all.
“As a mark of respect, flags on all council buildings will now be flown at half-mast during the mourning period, but will be raised briefly during this time to celebrate the proclamation of the new King.”
He said a book of condolence will be opened at the council offices, at Blackdown House, in Honiton.
“If residents would like to show their respects to Her Majesty the Queen, flowers can be left at the following locations, the paved area out the front of Blackdown House in Honiton, around and in front of the war memorial at The Strand in Exmouth, the lawn in Windsor Gardens at Seaton, The Green at Budleigh Salterton. Or you can donate to one of The Queen’s charities,” he said.
Councillor Chris Lockyear, Chair of Sidmouth Town Council, said: “On behalf of Sidmouth Town Council and the people of Sidmouth I would like to express my deep sadness at the announcement of the death of the Queen.
“She has served this nation with steadfastness and distinction for over 70 years and is the only monarch most of us will have known.
“As a sign of respect, flags will be flown at half-mast at Woolcombe House, the Three-Cornered Plot and elsewhere in Sidmouth.”
He said a book of condolence would be opened at Woolcombe House, which anyone was welcome to sign.
Mayor of Exmouth, Councillor Steve Gazzard, said: “I am very saddened to hear that Her Majesty, The Queen has passed away. She was a wonderful servant to our country and has played such a significant part in most of our lives, it is difficult to imagine life without her.
“We will mourn her loss for a considerable time and our thoughts are with
“As a mark of respect, flags at the town hall, town centre and Jubilee Clock Tower are being
flown at half-mast during the mourning period, but will be raised briefly to celebrate the
proclamation of the new King.”
A book of condolence has been opened at Exmouth town hall. Flowers can be left around and in front of the war memorial at The Strand, in the town centre. A book of condolence can also be found at the Holy Trinity Church, in Rolle Street.
Flags will be flown at half-mast in Exmouth at the town hall, Jubilee clock tower, the town centre, LED, at the seafront lifeboat station and Manor Gardens.
On Sunday, September 11, at 10am, Holy Trinity Church, in Rolle Street, will hold a service of mourning and reflection in memory of Her Majesty, The Queen.
At 10am on Sunday, September 18, there will be a Holy Communion Service to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II.
Devon-wide charity Hospiscare said: “We are deeply saddened at the news of the death of Her Majesty the Queen. Our thoughts are with her family at this time.
“While our hearts are heavy, we are grateful for Her Majesty’s long and unwavering service to our nation.”
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said it was ‘deeply saddened’ to hear of the Queen’s death.
“Our thoughts are with the Royal Family at this sad time,” the fire service said.
At around 12.30pm on Thursday (September 8) Buckingham Palace released a statement about the Queen’s health.
It said: “Following further evaluation this morning. The Queen’s doctors are concerned for Her Majesty’s health and have recommended she remain under medical supervision.
“The Queen remains comfortable and at Balmoral.”
A statement from Buckingham Palace:https://t.co/2x2oD289nL
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
Soon after, members of the Royal family arrived at the Balmoral estate to be at the Queen’s side.
Then, later on Thursday evening, news came from Buckingham Palace that the Queen had died ‘peacefully’ at Balmoral Castle during the afternoon.
The Queen died peacefully at Balmoral this afternoon.
The King and The Queen Consort will remain at Balmoral this evening and will return to London tomorrow. pic.twitter.com/VfxpXro22W
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022
A statement followed from His Majesty King Charles III, at the time of the Queen’s death.
He said: “The death of my beloved Mother, her Majesty the Queen is a moment of the greatest sadness for me and all members of my family.
“We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished Sovereign and a much-loved Mother. I know her loss will be deeply felt throughout the country, the Realms and the Commonwealth, and by countless people around the world.
“During this period of mourning and change, my family and I will be comforted and sustained by our knowledge of the respect and deep affection in which The Queen was so widely held.”
A statement from His Majesty The King: pic.twitter.com/AnBiyZCher
— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) September 8, 2022