SINCE my last article the United Kingdom has experienced a fundamental loss.

We all will die, but few will be mourned with the magnitude of Her Majesty the Queen.

Whatever one’s political, religious or constitutional views, many will share the sadness and personal grief at the loss of a public figure who served our nation for 70 years.

I thought it fitting that in this week’s article, I pay tribute to Her Majesty and mark the numerous visits that she made to North Ayrshire.

Prior to her accession to the throne, Her Majesty stated: “My whole life, whether it be long or short, will be devoted in service.”

The Queen honoured that promise over her seven decades on the throne; she was the epitome of service and it’s clear that Scotland held a special place in her heart.

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Her Majesty’s first visit to the area was 66 years ago, almost to the day when she and her husband arrived at Ardrossan Town station to adoring crowds before making their way down to Burn’s Cottage, stopping in both Irvine and Kilwinning on route.

Photos of this first visit have been well-documented and many of you with older relatives may find that they were actually there, lining the streets.

Perhaps some readers were even there themselves – if so, I’d love to hear your stories.

The Queen continued to visit Ayrshire throughout her life, most recently in 2014 accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Camilla, during which they visited Dumfries House for the opening of a walled garden.

Needless to say, thousands of local residents again lined the streets to catch a glimpse.

The death of Her Majesty the Queen has evoked a great emotional response from many of us.

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One such moment for myself was when I had the honour of seeing the Queen’s coffin pass by the Scottish Parliament as it entered the Palace of Holyroodhouse.

As surreal as that moment was, it was the seemingly endless crowd of people who travelled in order to pay their respects in person which re-inspired the pride I have always had in this country.

Scotland truly rose to the occasion and no one can doubt the immense dignity and respect that we have paid to our Queen.

Local residents have also been paying their respects in many different ways.

For instance, hundreds made the trip over to Edinburgh to see the Queen at St Giles and books of condolence have been made available for messages in Cunninghame House, Stevenston Library, Kilwinning Library, Kilbirnie Library, and Largs Library, among others.

Most of us have never experienced the death of a monarch and the coronation of another, a testament, I think, to Her Majesty’s devotion and dedication to her role.

We now have a new head of state in King Charles, a wise and considered man who I have had the pleasure of meeting on a number of occasions.

I have every faith in him and no doubt that he will help guide our country into this new era.

May the Queen rest in peace. God save the King.