The co-founder of an East Renfrewshire life-saving group who attended the Queen's funeral today has described the occasion as “surreal and honourable”.

Stuart McLellan set up the Neilston and Uplawmoor Community First Responders (NAUCFR) in 2013 with his friend Ross Nelson.

The pair, who were made MBEs in what would turn out to be the last Queen's birthday honours list, were among nearly 200 people from the June list who were invited to the historic state funeral at Westminster Abbey.

As he began the journey back north, Stuart, who lives in Neilston, said: “It was an honour to be in London, an incredible service and to witness the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II is a memory which I will never forget.

“The send off for such a powerful public servant was superb."

The Barrhead News reported in June how both Stuart, whose day job is as a technician with the Scottish Ambulance Service, and Ross had been named in what would turn out to be Her Majesty's final honours list.

Born out of an idea for a volunteer organisation in 2013, the NAUCFR group has now helped 20 of its volunteers into full-time employment with the Scottish Ambulance Service.

The group covers a vast area and has two vehicles with 4x4 capability to ensure they are able to get to patients in the winter months and access to countryside properties with difficult roads.

“In 2018, we got the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, which is the equivalent of an MBE for voluntary groups," Stuart continued. "I got nominated for an MBE following that.”

Ahead of the funeral a post on the NAUCFR’s Facebook page said: “A very proud day for our group.

“Last Saturday after assisting in a CPR classes in our village both Ross Nelson and Stuart McLellan received a phone call inviting them to the Queen’s state funeral.

“They were shocked and honoured to be invited to this sad but historic occasion.

“They will now proudly represent our group plus all the other community first responders groups throughout Britain.”

In addition to his work with the CFR, Stuart, 28, has also secured hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent years to fund vital life-saving equipment and resources for remote communities in the west of Scotland.

“My family live in Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute,” Mr McLellan said.

“They needed a helipad, and the community had been trying for years to get it, so I managed to do a business case and get them funding from the Help Appeal, which is the County Air Ambulance Trust.

“I got them £270,000 for a 24/7 hospital helipad, which is now saving lives daily.”

Work has just started on securing a helipad for residents of Islay, based at the island’s hospital.