A NUMBER of Ceredigion dignitaries travelled to Cardiff on Friday for Wales’ Civic Day of Remembrance of the life of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

Among them was Ceredigion’s Armed Forces Champion and county councillor for Tirymynach, Paul Hinge, who described the invitation as ‘a great honour and privilege’.

Speaking to the Cambrian News, Cllr Hinge described the emotion of the day and the honour of representing the county.

He said: “We had to be at the SWALEC Stadium in Sophia Gardens from 0700hrs but no later than 0800hrs…security checks came out of the woodwork but made all the more bearable by plenty of tea and coffee and Danish pastries.

“We were then escorted to a fleet of 9 buses at 0930hrs and were driven at pace with a Police Motorbike out-riding escort to the Cathedral.

“This brought back a few memories of a similar police escort meeting the regiment I served in (Royal Welch Fusiliers) just outside London in a fleet of buses on their journey from Tidworth to London to carry out Public Duties back in the mid 1970s.

“Arriving and de-bussing at Cathedral Green in Llandaff, we were met by hundreds upon hundreds of school children chatting loudly and all hyped-up waiting for the King and Queen Consort to arrive, this was a sight to behold with the children then offering us ‘high fives’ as we made our way down to the Cathedral.

“We were then escorted by Cathedral Stewards and shown to our seats. This was a chance to chat and meet with people we’ve not seen since before the Covid Lockdown.

“There was a wait for the Welsh Government party to take their seats at 1100hrs, and then the Prime Minister at 1110hrs followed closely by the Royal Party. The service got underway just slightly after 1115hrs.

“The service was conducted in both Welsh and English. For me there were two highly significant points in the service, the first being the address by the Archbishop of Wales the Rt Rev Andrew John (an Aberystwyth lad) which was very thoughtful and in parts peppered with a little bit of humour…but most poignantly he encapsulated most vividly what the Queen’s service and duty had meant to and for Wales, mentioning for example her numerous trips to Aberfan over the years to visit the families and the community as a whole, so hard hit by that dreadful disaster in 1966… he added that Her Majesty had been a dutiful and constant monarch who was graceful in all she did as our Head of State.

“The second point in the service that struck home for me, was the Anthem  ‘Almighty God whose faithfulness is like the mountains’, sung to a tune written by Paul Mealor and beautifully performed by the Cathedral Choir accompanied by the Royal Harpist Alis Huws and the World renowned Harpist Catrin Finch the music resonated around the Cathedral and for me made the hair on the nape of my neck stand up…a truly amazing rendition and provided an apt musical theme to the whole service.

“On the conclusion of the Service the congregation….including the Prime Minister had to wait for the Royal Party to clear the Main Street in Llandaff (an impromptu Royal Walkabout) before we could then be bussed back to Sophia Gardens.

“A truly historic and remarkable day that I feel humbled and privileged to have taken part in.

“It’s nice to see that your government does recognise all the hard work that is put in by all Armed Forces Champions to ensure that Serving Men and Women, Veterans and the families of both are given the gravitas that they deserve and that they don’t suffer any disparity of public services from the civilian population.

“God Save The King.”