MEMBERS of Leamington’s Ahmadiyya community mosque welcomed civic dignitaries, representatives from the police and neighbours for a special service of thanksgiving for the life of Queen Elizabeth.
The event, on Wednesday evening, featured prayers, readings and testimonies from a range of speakers.
The meeting heard a special video message from the Ahmadiyya community’s national supreme leader Hazarat Mirza Masroor Ahmed who described the Queen and a beacon of light in working for tolerance between faiths and said all would be joining him in prayers that the new King would continue the example she set.
There was also a specially-written poem from the mosque’s own resident nine-year-old poet praising the Queen for taking on so much at such a young age and for keeping the nation smiling.
A succession of civic leaders and representatives from the wider community took to the stage to pay tribute to the Queen’s work and to share their own memories of meeting the Queen and being inspired by her.
The county’s two royal representatives, the High Sheriff and Lord Lieutenant, both attended and offered their thoughts.
The Mayor of Leamington Coun Nick Wilkins and Warwick’s Mayor Coun Parminder Singh Birdi both spoke about the late Queen’s devotion to her duties in serving people from all walks of life.
Coun Birdi recalled a meeting with the Queen at which she had talked with him about his Kenyan upbringing.
“She made you feel as if you were the most important person there. She will always be remembered for the way she inspired people and for her dedication to developing the Commonwealth. We have just enjoyed the games and without her inspiration the bowls we hosted in Leamington would not have happened,” he said.
The coming together of different faiths and civic organisations drew interest from Central TV who broadcast live from the service during their evening news.
The service closed with an address from the mosque’s first full time Imam Shahzad Ahmed, only two weeks in the job, who paid tribute to the role played by the Queen in fostering religious tolerance and acceptance when the community first became established in Britain.
“She was Queen to all of us. As protector of the faith she set an example of respect for all faiths,” he said.