TWO pupils from St Benedict’s School, Ealing, had a unique insight into preparations for the state funeral of the Queen when they volunteered to help on the eve of the event.

Shaan, aged 12, and his brother Jai, 10, helped to prepare and distribute food to some of the 1,500 troops guarding and patrolling around Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

The troops had been staying in offices near St James's Park, which was their base in London for around 10 days.

“Jai and I arrived with my parents on the eve of the funeral at around 3pm,” said Shaan. “We met a sergeant major named Mick, who was in charge of the troops' wellbeing during their mission and was the person [issuing] instructions for the day.”

It wasn’t long before the boys were put to work, as Shaan explained.

“Our first task was to put all the hot food in the ovens to warm up. We also helped pack the meal bags, for the troops to take out with them.

“Then, we waited a bit, talked to the Army, Navy, and Air Force members, and helped get the drinks and chocolate brownies ready.

“At around 7pm, most of the troops came to get the packed meals for their shifts. We felt very humbled and lucky to be there supporting all the troops.

“At around 10pm, we said goodbye and made our way home.”

St Benedict's is an independent, Catholic, co-educational day school in Ealing. This year marks the school's 120th anniversary.