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Blairgowrie and the Queen: Union flag, Afghan landmine and an idol for the young

Sam Morgan pays tribute to the Queen at Blairgowrie Community Campus.
Sam Morgan pays tribute to the Queen at Blairgowrie Community Campus.

Dozens of people have penned tributes to the Queen in Blairgowrie after books of condolence opened throughout Perth and Kinross.

Blairgowrie Community Campus is one of nine locations in the county where locals can write in memory of Queen Elizabeth II, who passed away at Balmoral Castle on Thursday last week.

Pupils at Newhill Primary School are among those who have shared their thoughts.

Some of the messages.

One message says: “We will miss you and the girl guiding community will miss you too.”

We spoke to some of those who penned their respects on Monday.

Ultimate sacrifice for Queen and country

Sam Morgan almost paid the ultimate price for pledging his allegiance to Queen and country.

In 2009 he could easily have died while serving in Afghanistan with the Royal Regiment of Scotland.

He was in a heavily armoured Mastiff vehicle that drove over a landmine, sending him flying 15-feet into the air.

The incident ended his career in the Army as his right leg had to be amputated below the kneecap and replaced with a prosthetic limb.

Sam was flown back to Selly Oak Hospital in Birmingham, where he was visited by the then Prince Charles.

Sam Morgan given a medal by the then Prince Charles in 2010.

“He later presented me with an Afghan medal at the Black Watch Museum in Perth,” Sam said.

“I went to his garden party as well. He asked some genuine questions.”

‘I signed my allegiance to her’

Today, the Blairgowrie man, 40, showed his respect for the Queen by writing a message in the book of condolence set up in the town.

In 2005 he was a Royal guard at Balmoral where he was inspected by the late Elizabeth II.

In 2010 Sam was also invited to a Holyrood garden party held by the Queen as a gesture of thanks for his bravery.

The book of condolence at Blairgowrie Community Campus.

“I signed my allegiance to her,” he said of joining the armed forces.

“The Queen was driving ambulances during the Second World War in London herself. She has not been hiding away from anything.

“She has always been getting involved.”

Army meeting with Her Majesty

Scott MacGregor, 29, also wrote a tribute on behalf of himself and Blairgowrie and Rattray Community Council, for which he is chair.

He recalled meeting the Queen and Prince Philip at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth.

Scott MacGregor pens his tribute.

Scott, then 18, had achieved a Duke of Edinburgh Award as a member of the Blairgowrie Army Cadet Force.

“She was very happy to see so many young adults take part in something like that and pass on our knowledge to people of a younger age,” he recalled.

“She was laughing and joking when she was there.

“She was a very down to earth woman. She didn’t force anything on you.”

Respect for Union flag

Blairgowrie’s sole flagpole, in Wellmeadow, was the subject of controversy when Prince Philip passed away in April 2021.

It previously held the Saltire but was changed to the Union Jack and hoisted at half-mast in respect of the late Duke of Edinburgh.

Wellmeadow in Blairgowrie.

At the time, views were mixed.

The Union flag was again at half-mast after the Queen’s passing, but this time there has been no division in the community.

Scott said: “The day she died we had a minute’s silence at the community council meeting and I then changed it to half-mast that night.

“People were very respectful. They now understand that when something like this happens it is fitting to change the flag over and lower it to half-mast.”

Last female monarch

Fellow community councillor Samantha Stewart, 35, also paid her respects at the community campus.

She says she highlighted to her daughter Elyssa, 15, the significance of the Queen’s role as a female monarch.

Queen Elizabeth II.

“One thing I explained to my daughter when she passed is that in her lifetime she won’t see another queen.” said Samantha, who is also a member of Blairgowrie and Rattray Development Trust.

“The line of succession is male.

“Nobody born today or born now will ever see another Queen of this country.

“She is definitely an idol for young people and dedicated her life to this country.”

Here’s where you can pen a tribute

Books of condolence in memory of Queen Elizabeth II are being made available across Perth and Kinross.

Residents wishing are also invited to lay flowers at the Tay Street viewpoint in Perth.

Council Chief Executive Thomas Glen, Provost Xander McDade, Lord Lieutenant Stephen Leckie, Sheriff Principal of Tayside, Central and Fife Marysia Lewis and Council Depute Leader Councillor Eric Drysdale.

The book of condolence in the Perth and Kinross Council buildings at 2 High Street, Perth is open to the public from 9am to 5pm this week.

Books of condolence can also be accessed during normal opening hours at:

  • Community School of Auchterarder, New School Lane, Auchterarder
  • Breadalbane Community Campus, Aberfeldy
  • North Inch Community Campus, Perth
  • Loch Leven Community Campus, The Muirs, Kinross
  • Strathearn Community Campus, Pittenzie Road, Crieff
  • Glenearn Campus, Glenearn Road, Perth
  • Blairgowrie Community Campus, Blairgowrie
  • Pitlochry High School, Pitlochry
  • These are in addition to the online book of condolence which can be accessed on the website of the royal family.