TWO people from Largs were given an opportunity to say a final farewell to the Queen after being invited to her state funeral.

Walter Smith, 75, was given an MBE in the Platinum Jubilee Honours List for 21 years of service to youth enterprise across Ayrshire while local vet Melissa Donald, 58, was at Westminster Abbey in her capacity as president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Walter received the official invite after a telephone call from the Cabinet Office, and described the funeral as an 'incredible tribute' to Her Majesty.

He said: "I could see the coffin come in, the pallbearers and the royal family. It was mindblowing to see them and all of the world and Commonwealth leaders as they came up the aisle.

"We saw Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern and US President Joe Biden.

"When the funeral procession set off from Westminster Hall you could hear the bagpipes starting and it built up to a crescendo as the cortege arrived at the door of the abbey - it was very moving.

"Everything happened with such precision, it was a tribute to how things are done best in the UK.

"I was sitting close by when new Prime Minister Liz Truss got up to give her reading from the pulpit. The sheer layer after layer of pageantry in the processions were a sight to behold.

"It was a great honour and privilege to be there."

Walter says the Queen had played a role in his life since he was a young boy.

He added: "To my mind, The Queen was a wonderful example to all of us and represented the five 'D's - dedication, devotion, duty, discretion and diplomacy.

"I remember seeing her coronation in 1953 as a schoolboy. We all had to pack into a neighbour's house and watch the Coronation on a 15 inch black and white television set and it was followed by a street party."

Melissa, 58, who ran the Oaks Veterinary Centre in Largs with husband Kenneth for many years, said: "As a mother and grandmother, I never forgot that she too was a family woman. The Queen was also a great animal lover and she had a very natural affinity with her horses and cattle.

"I am currently the President of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and happened to be in London when I got the invite.

"It was incredible inside Westminster Abbey, the attention to detail was amazing. It was total silence during the service and I have never been to a funeral where everyone sung the hymns with such feeling."

Melissa also queued up to see the Queen's coffin last Wednesday, arriving as the very first queues formed at 8.45pm.

She said: "I joined at Borough Market, and then onwards to Millennium Bridge. It was three and a half hours from Lambeth Bridge, which ordinarily would have been a five minute walk.

"I got there just after 5am and there was a very special aura which made the whole event feel very special.

"My mother also queued up to pay her respects to King George VI when he died and her recollection of going into Westminster Hall was exactly the same as mine."

Melissa added: "The Queen connected with people on every level and that's why so many wanted to be in London to give thanks to this amazing woman..

"Her Majesty did so much for working women in this country and was a real constant throughout all our lives.

"It was a great privilege to be there for her final farewell."