'She made me feel important': Newcastle Hindus pay respects to the Queen

An equality campaigner from Newcastle who met Queen Elizabeth II on three occasions paid tribute to the late monarch, saying she made him "feel important".

Hari Shukla, who has been honoured by the Queen three times, was speaking at a special ceremony at Newcastle's Hindu Temple on Sunday 18 September.

The service brought together people of many faiths.

Mr Shukla said: "Just an ordinary man like me, she paid attention, listened to me very carefully and asked me various questions about my work and what I liked to do in future and so on, so I will never forget that she made me feel important."

Hari Shukla pays tribute to the Queen in Hindu Temple. Credit: ITV News

The service included a traditional Hindu offering to the fire, which is a sacrifice ritual performed to honour the Queen. There was also traditional Hindu music, prayers and a minute silence observed.

The Hindu Chaplain of the Forces, Acharya Krishan Kant Attri, conducted the service.

He said: "She was a role model for the entire community, not only for the United Kingdom, but the Commonwealth. She was such as great pride for all souls and, of course, as a mother, as a grandmother and great grandmother and motherly figure for the whole nation."

Multi-faith leaders at Hindu Temple pay respects to the Queen Credit: ITV News

Politicians, police officers and members of other faith groups attended the service.

The deputy Lord Lieutenant of Tyne & Wear, Veena Soni, who also met the Queen several times, gave a speech.

She said the Queen brought communities and religions together and that this should be remembered.

She said: "You can see today how all of the communities respected and loved and thought of the Queen as being part of their faith and part of their religion and I think that again is very, very important in her legacy that she’s left behind, which I hope that King Charles III is now going to take forward and remember that we’re all one. We’re all British and we’re all together."