9AM – 3PM

It was a cloudy, dull and slightly chilly morning but not raining which we were pleased about.  Roger, Moss and Helen met at 9am at the Yes-U-Are Partnership building (the old Andrew Erskine church), had a cuppa together and spent a short while in prayer.  We were grateful to Roger for offering this as a venue to meet; he has an office there.  Helen read the verse 17 from Isaiah 32: “And the work of righteousness shall be peace and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.”

We left the building at 9.25am and walked down towards the bottom of the High Street opposite the Council Chambers.  A small crowd had already gathered and we were able to walk through and past the people.  We spoke to a policeman to inform him that some Street Pastors had arrived who said he was from Kelty and knew of Street Pastors In his area which was a nice contact at the beginning of our patrol.

There was a crowd beginning to form near the Abbey and along St Catherine’s Wynd, by the library.  Police were standing in front of the barriers; we had a brief conversation with them and took the opportunity of reminding them what the Street Pastor role was and that we had been invited to attend by a member of the town council.

During the course of the next hour or so the 3 of us cut up through the alleyway opposite the library onto the High Street and back again a couple of times. We were able to help a lady who was very unsure of herself, walk through the alleyway to be able to stand in the road to see the Royal party.  We also had a good conversation with a member of the ambulance crew who was pleased to see us and said that she was a Christian and attended a church in Burntisland.  Helen gave out doggy treats to a few canine friends and that was an opener to friendly chats.  The atmosphere was happy and friendly; everyone we spoke to were keen to be there as they felt that it was an historic occasion to have the new King and Queen Consort in the city of Dunfermline and didn’t want to miss it.

On the grassy area near the Abbey the crowd was growing with many different people assembling.  Quite a number of S6 pupils from Woodmill High School were pleased to be there as were a couple of painters & decorators.  Some parents were there with young children and as the time grew closer to 11am when the Royal party were expected to arrive, employees from various shops and businesses around also put in an appearance.

The Dunfermline Pipe Band marched along St Catherine’s Wynd, looking resplendent in their kilts and tartan uniforms while playing well known Scottish tunes. They performed to the patient, waiting crowd a couple of times which was appreciated by everyone.

At about 10.30am Lorraine Beveridge arrived and joined us on patrol then just before 11am Wilma arrived and waited with us on the grassy area in front of the Abbey.  She found a seat and chatted with a man on another seat.  Shortly afterwards Sylvia, Sharon, Lynda and Suzie arrived so we were all there ready for the arrival of King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort.

At about 8 minutes past 11am, the Royal car swept along and stopped next to the Council Chambers.  Moss and Roger had taken up position behind the crowd at the lower end of the High Street so were able to see the royal party arrive in the car.  They stayed there until they left the City Chambers, then made their way back to the Yes-U-Are building.

The other Street Pastors had been engaging in conversation with members of the public but the crowds hushed on the arrival of the royal car.  Shouts of “God save the King” were heard as well as some clapping.  A few moments earlier some “boos” were heard from amongst the crowd around the corner near the Council building, but these evidently were reserved for Nicola Sturgeon the First Minister of Scotland.

The ceremony in the City Chambers lasted nearly an hour so it was a while before the Royal party emerged.  Those of us on the grassy area saw the King and Queen Consort slowly walk down the street stopping to speak to members of the crowd who eagerly shook hands with them and bunches of flowers were given to Camilla.  Again, there were shouts of “God save the King” and the Royal couple appeared happy and pleased to receive people’s welcome comments.  From where some of us were standing, Camilla walked towards the grassy area which was a slight diversion from following the King down towards the Abbey.  She had a lively conversation with people standing there which was appreciated by all.  She then turned to walk towards the Abbey.

At this point Helen left to join Moss and Roger for a welcome cup of coffee washed down with biscuits and pecan slices.  We had a cheerful chat looking back on what had been an enjoyable morning if a rather unusual patrol.

Wilma and the remaining Street Pastors stayed in the area and had conversations with school pupils (one was so delighted that the King had shaken his hand, he exclaimed “I will never wash this hand again!!”). We had conversations with parents with toddlers, and with the police. After a while, the King left the Abbey and we waved and cheered the Royal party. We went into a café but it was too crowded – however we did have two conversations there before we left. We went up to the High Street, stopping for a number of conversations on the way. Six of us went into the café and one SP invited a young man to join us. We had a long conversation about technology and about spiritual matters. We also had a lengthy conversation with a young man who had been a missionary in Pakistan, and a lady who had seen us on the street and came to ask what we were doing. A lady sitting at the next table also chatted with us, and as we left the café, a dog with a sore paw attracted our attention, leading to a conversation with the owners. A man in a kilt stopped us at the exit and had a number of questions for us, and we had a good conversation with him. One street pastor went shopping and although she was no longer in uniform she was approached by a lady who recognised her as a street pastor – she wanted to talk about problems she was having in her life. After few more  conversations at the bus stop, we left Dunfermline.

Helen Mulford & Wilma Aitchison

10th October 2022