High street shops close but most schools will not show the service to pupils

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Thousands of shops and businesses across the country will close this morning for the funeral of the Queen Mother, while others will observe a two-minute silence.

The four biggest supermarket groups and retail chain stores announced they would either be shut between 10.30am and 1pm, the time of the funeral, or not open at all until the service was over.

The National Trust, of which the Queen Mother had been president since 1953, will close houses, shops and restaurants for the day. English Heritage will shut properties until 1pm.

Asda, Tesco, Safeway and all but the smallest Sainsbury outlets, as well as Marks & Spencer, Iceland, Kwik Save and Somerfield will be shut between 10.30am and 1pm. John Lewis, Debenhams and Next will open branches at 1pm. Among those observing the two-minute silence will be Harvey Nichols, the jewellers Asprey and Garrard – both of which hold a Royal Warrant from the Queen Mother – Dixons, Currys, Comet, Selfridges, the Co-op and Little Chef restaurants.

Most schools, however, will be unable to sit all their pupils in front of a TV to watch the funeral. Lack of space would cause problems in primary schools while the country's larger comprehensives do not have enough TV sets to allow all pupils access to one.

Instead, many are likely to mark the day with a reference to the Queen Mother's death in morning assemblies or by observing a two-minute silence.

Downing Street has advised schools to allow their pupils to watch the funeral on television whereever possible.

However, Graham Lane, chairman of the Local Government Association's education committee, said: "There won't be enough TV sets to go round. Practicalities would prevent a school from cramming all its pupils round a set."

Andrew Calverley, headteacher of Park Grove primary school in York, said he would be doing a special assembly in which he would talk about the history covered by the Queen Mother's life. He said: "The idea of sitting 100-odd children around a television probably would not work. It's quite a long time to get children to sit together still and quiet."

Myron Hrynkow, head of Asham Village school in Asham-in-Furness, Cumbria, said: "It wouldn't be appropriate for some children in any case because they would be too young to understand and funerals aren't a good thing for children, particularly when we have several in school who have been bereaved recently."

The London Stock Exchange said trading would cease during the funeral service and a two-minute silence would be observed at 10.30am.

Heathrow airport said it would invite passengers in its four terminals to observe a two-minute silence to coincide with the start of the ceremony.

All horseracing events have been cancelled as a mark of respect to the Queen Mother, who was a keen patron of the sport. The Lord Chancellor's Department said courts in England and Wales would be closed.

Comments