Mourners who missed Queen’s funeral: Woman sits outside Westminster Abbey after service had begun

The mourners who missed the Queen’s funeral: Woman is pictured sitting outside Westminster Abbey after the service had begun while man who was caught up in Paddington rail chaos says ‘events conspired against me’

A woman was spotted sitting outside Westminster Abbey having arrived after the Queen‘s state funeral had started while a former police officer was told not to bother after his train was delayed for hours.

The unknown woman, who was dressed in a black dress, hat and gloves, was reportedly turned away from main entrance by police who were stood guard outside the Abbey in central London.

Witnesses reported that the lady arrived about 15 minutes after the service had started and that police appeared to be taking good care of her, suggesting that she may have been allowed in an alternative entrance. 

Thousands of mourners were impacted by transport and traffic chaos this morning after electrical faults and road closures meant travel was severely disrupted.

It is unknown if the woman pictured was delayed by the disruption this morning but one guest who was caught up in the rail chaos was Barry Boffy MBE.

As well as members of the Royal Family, the Government and foreign dignitaries from around the world, nearly 200 key workers and volunteers recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list were invited to attend the funeral by Downing Street.

Among them was Mr Boffy, a former British Transport Police officer from Bristol who also missed the funeral after his train was stopped due to the electrical failures this morning.

Hundreds of mourners were held up by travel disruption this morning. Pictured: A lady who arrived late for the state funeral and burial of Queen Elizabeth, sits outside Westminster Abbey

Hundreds of mourners were held up by travel disruption this morning. Pictured: A lady who arrived late for the state funeral and burial of Queen Elizabeth, sits outside Westminster Abbey

Witnesses said the unknown woman was about 15 minutes late for the funeral this morning

Witnesses said the unknown woman was about 15 minutes late for the funeral this morning

As well as world leaders and politicians, nearly 200 people who were honoured in the Queen's Birthday Honours list were also invited to her state funeral at Westminster Abbey this morning

As well as world leaders and politicians, nearly 200 people who were honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list were also invited to her state funeral at Westminster Abbey this morning

Mr Boffy told the BBC his train was stopped near Slough after the overhead wires were damaged shortly after 6am this morning.

The former head of inclusion and diversity said once he made it to London, he was turned away by Met police officers who said there was no way he would make it in time.

Mr Boffy told the broadcaster: ‘Events conspired against me and I wasn’t able to make it in time.

‘We had pulled into Langley, and they [train operators] opened the doors and basically said ‘make your own way’.

‘It was about an hour away by car and thankfully the kindness of strangers recognised I needed to get into London as soon as possible and offered me a lift with them.

‘But with all the traffic and road closures, by the time I got pretty close to where I needed to be, Met Police told me there is no point you’re not going to make it in time.

Former British Transport Police officer Barry Boffy (pictured above) told the BBC his train was stopped near Slough after the overhead wires were damaged shortly after 6am this morning

Former British Transport Police officer Barry Boffy (pictured above) told the BBC his train was stopped near Slough after the overhead wires were damaged shortly after 6am this morning

‘Ultimately there isn’t anything I can do about it, to change the circumstances, it is still a huge honour and privilege, just to have been invited, so I will treasure that, the memory of the opportunity to have been there.’

In total, about 2,000 people including world leaders and former UK prime ministers attended the funeral which began at 11am following a procession from Westminster Hall.

The disruption began shortly after 6am with Great Western Railway (GWR) informing passengers all railway lines between Slough and Paddington were blocked due to damage to overhead electric wires.

This disrupted journeys for mourners who were attempting to travel to London for the Queen’s funeral from Reading or Heathrow Airport.

Services run by GWR, Heathrow Express and the Elizabeth line also continue to be affected.

The lines between Reading and Newbury were also closed due to a person being hit by a train.

The former head of inclusion and diversity Mr Boffy (pictured) said once he made it to London, he was turned away by Met police officers who said there was no way he would make it in time

The former head of inclusion and diversity Mr Boffy (pictured) said once he made it to London, he was turned away by Met police officers who said there was no way he would make it in time

This is causing GWR trains to be diverted, delaying journeys to the capital.

Hundreds of GWR passengers on five early morning trains into Paddington station had to be walked down the track to safety after the electric power lines went down.

A GWR spokesman told MailOnline that the trains were evacuated and passengers taken to safety at the nearest station.

The spokesman added: ‘There will be no services in and out of Paddington station for the rest of the day.’

The problem at Hayes and Harlington station was reported at around 6.45am. 

Passengers on a severely delayed Paddington-bound train were told by a member of staff on the public address system: ‘My sincerest apologies for the delays on such an important day for the country.’

The issue meant many mourners hoping to secure a position to see the funeral procession could now arrive too late.

All public viewing areas for the Queen’s funeral procession are full, London’s City Hall said. 

All railway lines between Slough and Paddington are blocked due to damage to overhead wires

All railway lines between Slough and Paddington are blocked due to damage to overhead wires

Meanwhile, at Waterloo Station, hundreds of security guards are on duty ready for the influx of mourners expected to travel to the capital for the funeral. 

Authorities in the capital have already warned mourners that central London is extremely busy.

A statement issued at 7.30am said: ‘The areas in and around Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Whitehall, St James’ Park and Green Park are extremely busy.

Many affected passengers planned to be in London for the start of the day’s events but were delayed for several hours.

The sound of the choir at Westminster Abbey echoed through the carriages of delayed trains as mourners watched the service on their smartphones.

Bev Palfreman said she was ‘absolutely gutted’ about missing the start of the funeral.

The 61-year-old from Oakhampton, Devon, said: ‘The Queen has just been there throughout the whole of my life. This was the only thing I wanted to do.’

Gaby Thomas, 29, who travelled from Castle Cary, Somerset, with her father, said: ‘My dad is a former naval officer and he wanted to see the procession and the military involved.

‘It’s just about being there. We were meant to arrive in Paddington at about 8.30am. We are still hoping to catch the end of the procession.

‘It’s a typical British thing to happen.’

A Network Rail spokesman said: ‘We are very sorry for the disruption which we expect to continue throughout the day.

‘We are working hard to get services running as soon as possible and passengers are strongly advised to check before they travel.

‘We will continue to update passengers as the situation develops.’

Source

Related posts