The news of the death, in a car accident in Paris, of Diana, Princess of Wales early in the morning of Sunday August 31 stopped the country, and indeed the world, in its tracks. Following quickly after the initial shock came the flood of floral tributes which soon threatened to overwhelm the Royal Palaces in London. Newspapers, Radio and Television abandoned virtually all normal schedules for the remainder of the week until the funeral on Saturday, September 6. Shops closed and the country came to a standstill to watch the day long Television broadcast.
Local tributes were laid outside the Keene Hall where the Union Flag was flown at half mast. Prayers were said for the Princess and her family during services at the Methodist Church and St Michael’s, where the tenor bell was rung, half muffled, 36 times. Ruth Olley invited mourners unable to go to London to pay their tributes at her home at 21 Skinners Lane. She decorated her house from top to bottom with Diana memorabilia. Visitors were invited to lay flowers which would be distributed to local good causes. Although Mrs Olley never met Diana, she was in the crowd when the Princess visited the Suffolk Show and met Prince Charles at a London function.
A tribute submitted to the Parish Office was composed by Chris Vaughan and titled simply, ‘Lady Diana’.
She was a gentle lady,
Who touched us with her love.
A special light, a special flame
of kindness from her heart.