North West streets empty as region falls silent for Her Majesty the Queen's funeral

The North West joined millions around the world to bid a final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II who will be laid with her beloved husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, on Monday.

The Royal Family were joined at Westminster Abbey by world leaders and dignitaries who travelled to the UK to honour the life of Her Majesty after her death at the age of 96.

Soldiers from the Duke of Lancaster regiment took part in the procession and hundreds of police officers from the region helped to police the funeral, which is the UK's biggest security operation in history.

People watch the Queen's funeral on a screen in Manchester Exchange Square. Credit: ITV News

People across the world were watching this momentous day in history from home, while others watched from cathedrals, parks and cinemas that showed the service on screens.

Hundreds gathered in Manchester's Exchange Square and many packed into the city's cathedral to watch the Queen's final journey.

Hundreds watch the Queen's funeral from Manchester Cathedral. Credit: ITV News

Shops, restaurants, bars and other establishments across the region closed their doors as a mark of respect for Her Majesty.

In Liverpool, the streets fell silent and portraits of Queen Elizabeth II decorated most billboards and bus shelters.

Crowds formed in Exchange Square in central Manchester to watch the service and procession.

Meanwhile, mourners watched from churches across the region, including St Cuthbert Church in Lytham and St George's in Douglas, Isle of Man.

Billboards across the region pay tribute to Her Majesty the Queen as she is laid to rest. Credit: Liverpool Echo

Several bellringers at St Thomas Church, in Mellor, Stockport, say it is an honour to toll the bell ahead of The Queen's state funeral.

They received a letter from Her Majesty after tolling the bell for the Platinum Jubilee in June 2022.

  • Bellringers from St Thomas Church, in Mellor, say they are honoured to toll the bell for Her Majesty the Queen.

Three Dads Walking, who joined together to raise awareness of suicide after the death of their daughters, paused their UK-wide charity walk in respect of the Queen's funeral.

Andy Airey, Mike Palmer, and Tim Owen are walking between the UK's four parliaments in Edinburgh, Belfast, Cardiff and London in support of suicide prevention charity Papyrus.

All three fathers lost their daughters - Beth Palmer, 17, Emily Owen, 19, and 29-year-old Sophie Airey - to suicide.

They stopped their walk on Monday to watch Her Majesty the Queen's funeral from the side of a canal in Lancashire.

"It just felt like the right thing to do", Tim Owen explained. "If the rest of the nation is stopping, we should stop as well."

And in London, from every corner of the North West, thousands travelled to share Her Majesty's final journey.

Isobel Skilley, from Bury, said: "It's a big moment. We've had so much going on, and we said this is a moment in history that we'll never see again.

"Especially as a woman I think its really empowering that we had a Queen, and we want to go and see what is going on and pay our respects, something we can tell our children about when we're older."

Imran Munir, from Blackburn, echoed those thoughts. He said: "She was Queen of the country. She has been Queen for a very long time, and we've got to show our dues."

Meanwhile, one mourner, Ronnie Cloak from Manchester, attended the historic funeral in memory of his mother who also passed away.

He said: "We knew if my mum was still here she would have wanted to go. So we're kind of representing my mum as well."

Beryl Holland, from Fleetwood, travelled seven hours on the bus to witness the monarch's final journey.

"I've been stood here eight hours, on my feet, and I'm 75!", he said. "She is my Queen and I want to pay my respects to her. We'll never have another like her in my lifetime."

State funeral pallbearers praised for service to the Queen. Credit: PA images

The North West also fell silent on Sunday evening, ahead of the funeral, as a mark of respect for the Queen, who was Britain's longest reigning monarch.

Landmarks including Wigan Town Hall were lit up in purple to remember her.

Meanwhile, Blackpool Tower, which has been illuminated red, white and blue since her passing, plunged into darkness during the country's moment of reflection.

In St Ann's Square in Manchester, where many have been saying their final fair-wells at a flower-covered memorial, broke into spontaneous applause after the minute's silence.

  • A look back at  some of the unforgettable occasions when the Queen headed to the North West.

  • The lights of Blackpool Tower turns to black as a mark of respect to the Queen.

The Queen had been Lying in State inside Westminster Hall since Wednesday, 14 September.

The sombre event came to an end at 6:30am on Monday, with the queue closing to newcomers after 10:30pm on Sunday, 18 September.

  • Watch ITV's special live coverage of the funeral of HM The Queen

Her Majesty's final resting place will be the King George VI memorial chapel, where her mother and father were buried, along with the ashes of her sister, Princess Margaret.

Prince Philip's coffin will move from the Royal Vault to the memorial chapel to join the Queen.

Her Majesty last visited in the North West in 2021, visiting the Coronation Street studio and meeting religious leaders to reflect on how the city dealt with the coronavirus pandemic.

The remarkable life of the Queen remembered in our latest episode of What You Need To Know