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Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 16:07 GMT 17:07 UK
From the mouths of babes
Pupils, silence
A minute's silence was observed at Netherlee

Young lives are not typically touched by the sadness which death and mourning bring.

But with the funeral of the Queen Mother, thousands of Scottish children had a brief insight into these emotions as they participated in a silence as a mark of respect.

One such primary was Netherlee school on the south side of Glasgow.

Head teacher Sandra Mitchell said: "It was important, from a historical point of view, for us to be part of the funeral day."

She decided that the entire school should observe the one-minute silence and a number of older children should be allowed to watch the funeral live on television.

Charlotte Sinclair
Charlotte: Liked Queen Mother's hats
Pupils at Netherlee had not met the woman who lived for just over a century.

They could not recount happy memories or tell witty stories, but they were able to describe her warm smile and compare her to their own grandmothers.

Charlotte, aged seven, said: "I remember the Queen Mother wearing really nice shoes and clothes.

"She had grey hair and wore colourful hats. She had matching bags and shoes."

Primary 6b pupils watched the funeral on a computer-aided projector screen.

Privileged view

Towards the end of the 50-minute service, the 10 and 11-year-olds began shuffling their feet.

Whispers could be heard, nudges were exchanged and attention was gradually being drawn to sandwich-filled lunch-boxes.

But the privilege of being able to watch the Queen Mother's funeral as it happened had not been lost on the pupils.

David Tullis, Netherlee Primary
David: "Beautiful service"
They said they were glad to have been part of an audience of millions which had witnessed the final chapter of a long Royal life.

David, aged 10, said: "It was a beautiful service. Today was very important, after all she was the people's queen, everybody loved her.

"She wanted to do everything herself and she did it quite well. It was nice for us to be able to pay our own tributes."

The older pupils of Netherlee Primary showed an impressive knowledge of the Queen Mother's life.

'Special place'

Ten-year-old Haylea said it was a brave decision for the Queen Mother to stay at home during WWII and not flee abroad with her two young daughters.

Daniel, aged 10, said the Queen Mother had a special place in her heart for Scotland and Scotland had a special place in its heart for her.

Younger pupils at the school could not fully comprehend the significance of the royal passing.

Queen Mother's coffin
The Queen Mother's coffin on its final journey
But all the children knew how mournful a day it had been for the Queen Mother's daughter and reigning monarch Elizabeth II, her children and her grandchildren.

Charlotte said: "It was a really sad day. The Queen will be feeling really, really sad."

Catriona, aged 11, added: "She must have been very proud to be 101, not a lot of people live that long."

"She was always happy and lived life to the full, she loved all of her family and she will be very much missed, but her family will be glad it was a very beautiful funeral."

For the children of Netherlee Primary, important lessons were learned with the Queen Mother's passing.

Most significantly the sad occasion represented a living history lesson.

Since the Queen Mother's death more than a week ago the youngsters have learned a great deal about the Royal Family, a who's who of its members, its pageantry and its place in modern society.


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09 Apr 02 | Scotland
09 Apr 02 | Scotland
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