King Charles III Coronation: Newtownabbey man 'honoured' to be attending historic event

A Newtownabbey man has spoken of his “disbelief” after receiving an invitation to King Charles III’s Coronation service at Westminster Abbey.
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Johnny Conn, a retired teacher now living in Ballyclare, is set to attend the event in London on Saturday, May 6 after recently receiving an invite to the historic occasion.

Mr Conn, who is second in command of the Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade across Northern Ireland, will travel to the UK Capital on May 5.

Speaking to this newspaper, Johnny explained: “My initial reaction was one of complete shock. It was so unexpected. I still don’t quite believe it, but feel very privileged to be attending such an historic occasion.

Johnny Conn.Johnny Conn.
Johnny Conn.

"I must admit that the closer it gets, the greater the anticipation becomes.”

The Ballyclare resident, who has been associated with the Carnmoney Church Lads’ Brigade for over 50 years, firstly as a member and now an officer, will be attending a coronation event with the brigade on May 4, before heading to London the following day.

Next month’s event will not be the first time the high-ranking Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade officer will have attended a ceremony alongside a member of the Royal Family.

Mr Conn stated: “I’ve not been inside Westminster Abbey, but have been fortunate enough to have attended garden parties at both Buckingham Palace and Hillsborough Castle. I’ve also been at commemoration services to mark VE Day, occasions when a Royal guest was present.

"In 1980, Her Majesty The Queen reviewed the CLCGB in Windsor Great Park and in 1994 she visited our national headquarters. These were truly special occasions.”

Commenting on how “honoured” he is to be representing the uniformed organisation at the key event, Mr Conn added: “I feel honoured to be representing the Church Lads’ and Church Girls’ Brigade. Although not as well known as other youth organisations, it plays an important part in the lives of its members.

"I’ve been associated with the Brigade since 1970 and am proud to say that I am a former members and current officer.

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"This is unquestionably one of the highlights of my time in the CLCGB. So many people in our country have never witnessed a coronation and I’m going to be there. I wish Charles III many blessings as King of our great country.”