Crocheted post boxes, sand art and tattoos: How creative mourners are paying tribute to the Queen

·Lifestyle Writer, Yahoo Life UK
·11-min read
Creative art queen. (Left and middle: PA Images/SWNS)
Crafts, murals and sand art are just some of the imaginative ways Brits are paying their respects for the late Queen. (Left and middle: PA Images/SWNS)

Creative Brits across the country have been marking the Queen's death in all sorts of unusual ways, from crocheted post boxes and corgis, to Royal-themed tattoos and even sand, mud and graffiti art.

While crowds have flocked to Buckingham Palace to pay their respects to the 70-year-reigning monarch who died at the age of 96 last Thursday, others have expressed their grief and honoured her in more unconventional ways.

We take a look at some of the most special and stand-out tributes we've seen in the UK so far.

Crocheted post boxes

Donna Wilby created her first ever post box topper in honour of the Queen (PA Images)
Donna Wilby's first post box topper to honour the late Queen. (PA Images)

Skilled crocheters have created a mixture of black (as a sign of mourning) and colourful post box toppers as a tribute to the late queen, with some adapting pieces from the Platinum Jubilee.

Donna Wilby, 49, from Ipswich, chose to make a blue and black topper with a model of the Queen dressed in a regal blue suit, complete with a black handbag and gold brooch, as soon as she heard about the monarch's death.

"I felt the need to do something and to hopefully make local people smile," she told the PA news agency, commenting on her first ever post box creation.

"I had started the base with the aim of making a Christmas topper but this felt more important.

"I don't use patterns and have been crocheting for over 30 years."

Wilby plans to keep her work in place until a few days after the funeral on Monday as a mark of respect.

Brenda Fowler repurposed an existing base and added a tribute to the Queen (Brenda Fowler/PA)
Brenda Fowler's tribute was made using material from multiple special events. (PA Images)

Meanwhile, in Chessington, Surrey, Brenda Fowler created a bright multi-coloured tribute with the late Queen also wearing a blue suit, this time complete with a tall beret hat and signature white pearls.

A red love heart that sits at her feet reads 'RIP' with '1926-2022' etched below.

Fowler, who began crocheting during the COVID-19 pandemic, now creates a new post box topper every month based on a different theme.

As she had originally prepared a harvest-themed topper for September, she resourcefully adapted it to honour the late Queen instead.

"When the Queen passed away, I said I have got to put something on there," she told PA.

"While we were actually sitting there watching it all on Thursday evening, I just added the 'RIP' and the dates.

"I already had the Queen which I had done for the Jubilee, so it was up on the post box the following morning."

She luckily also had the red heart pictured at the ready from a creation from Valentine's Day.

"We've never known anybody else to be there apart from her, she's been that one constant throughout our lives," Fowler added.

A tribute to the Queen created by Stranraer Community Crafters (Kenny Paterson/PA)
Stranraer Community Crafters made this special tribute. (PA Images)

In Stranraer, southern Scotland, one very special post box topper in particular has been spotted.

It has a bright green cover reading '1926-2022' with a standing model of the Queen dressed in purple, with two of her much-loved corgis standing dutifully by her side.

Sand art

Watch: Sand artist releases 'goodbye' to late Queen featuring first class stamp with portrait on beach

A sand artist revealed her unique and very moving tribute to the late Queen after creating a 65ft postage stamp portrait on a beach.

Claire Eason, 57, originally spent four hours etching the image in May for the Platinum Jubilee, but has now revealed the full drone footage from the day, with the approaching tide washing over the monarch a 'fitting goodbye'.

Retired GP and mum-of-two Eason, from Sunderland, used a garden rake to create the portrait at Bamburgh beach in Northumberland.

"As I was filming with the drone the tide came in and I captured it just touching the image and I thought this looks like a goodbye," she said.

“I didn’t put it out at the time because it didn’t match the celebratory feeling of the Jubilee."

But she held on to it because she knew we would be saying goodbye at some point.

“It wasn’t a deliberate thing, it was unexpected, but it felt like it marked the end," she explained.

“It’s been really touching to see people’s response, they have said it is a fitting goodbye.”

A first class stamp with a portrait of the Queen made using a rake on Bamburgh beach in Northumberland. (SWNS)
A first class stamp with a portrait of the Queen made using a rake on Bamburgh beach in Northumberland. (SWNS)

Eason said she chose the image of a first class stamp because it is one of the most recognisable of Queen Elizabeth II.

"I was very saddened when I heard The Queen had died, she has been a part of everyone’s life for so long," she said.

“She has given us all that sense of constant and when that comes to an end it’s hard.”

Mud art

Rickys amazing muddy van art tribute to the late queen that has passed)  An artist has created a unique tribute to Queen Elizabeth II using nothing other than mud! Ricky Minns, 47, has been producing art for approximately 17 years now, but states his work has become more elaborate over time.Ruddy, as he's more commonly known, revealed the piece - on the back of his van - took him six hours to create using his own special recipe of mud to avoid scratching.Upon hearing the news of the Queen's death, Ruddy felt he 'had to' do a tribute for the late monarch.SEE CATERS COPY
A very unique tribute to Queen Elizabeth II using mud and a white van. (Caters)

Another artist, this time who works with none other than mud, created a tribute on the back of his van.

Ricky Minns, or 'Ruddy', 47, from Norfolk who has been producing art for around 17 years, said his work has become a bit more on the elaborate side over time.

“I have done several royal pictures over the last few years. From the Trump visit, the Jubilee, the passing of Prince Philip, Harry and Meghan's wedding and now the sad passing of the Queen," he explained.

The latest piece took Minns six hours to complete using his own special recipe of mud to avoid scratching the vehicle. He started on the evening the news broke and finished the next day.

“She was an amazing woman – the one piece of stability over the decades, especially during the recent difficult times," he added.

“I had to apply the mud as I wanted to do it as soon as possible. I had a few tears while I was drawing.”

Doing mud art for nearly two decades, he became known as Ruddy Muddy Art around 10 years ago.

“I am blown away by the response. It just shows how special she was to so many people," he said.

Tattoos

Pictured Graham Wilson. A proud devoted fan of the royals has had two images of Elizabeth II tattooed on his upper left leg. See SWNS story SWTPtattoo. Graham Wilson, 54, arranged for the tattoo as he sobbed with wife Michelle Croft, 53, after hearing of the late Queen’s death last Thursday. The grandad opted for the tattoo because he wanted his tribute to the late monarch to be with him all the time, and worried he might lose a picture on paper or canvas. Dedicated digger-driver Graham braved a total of 14 hours under the needle, costing him £1,400, for his picture.
Not one, but two images of Elizabeth II tattooed on Graham Wilson's leg. (SWNS)

Others across the UK have committed to something a bit more permanent, inking themselves in remembrance.

One royal fan has spent as much as £1,400 on a leg tattoo of the late Queen both old and young, which he booked following her death.

Graham Wilson, 54, from High Wycombe, Bucks, said he wanted to pay tribute to her, and after hearing of a cancellation at his favourite tattoo parlour, he knew it was "meant to be".

The very meaningful masterpiece took a total of 14 hours to complete at Township Tattoo.

"I absolutely love it. I'm ecstatic and so proud of it," enthuses Wilson.

"I loved the Queen, you could really relate to her, no matter who you are. She's iconic and I just wanted to pay homage to her.

"When I was watching the news I just knew suddenly it was what I wanted to do, and Beth [the tattooist] had a cancellation so it was meant to be."

The piece features both the Queen at her coronation and a more recent picture, which he had to get done across two days.

Pictured Graham Wilson. A proud devoted fan of the royals has had two images of Elizabeth II tattooed on his upper left leg. See SWNS story SWTPtattoo. Graham Wilson, 54, arranged for the tattoo as he sobbed with wife Michelle Croft, 53, after hearing of the late Queen’s death last Thursday. The grandad opted for the tattoo because he wanted his tribute to the late monarch to be with him all the time, and worried he might lose a picture on paper or canvas. Dedicated digger-driver Graham braved a total of 14 hours under the needle, costing him £1,400, for his picture.
Graham Wilson spent 14 hours under the needle. (SWNS)

Tattooist Beth herself said, "It was nerve-wracking to do something so iconic, especially while everyone’s emotions are high. And, of course, everybody knows her so that’s frightening.

“We took lots of breaks and I was so careful. As I went on I got more comfortable and confident with it.

“No matter how long you’ve been tattooing you always want to get it right.

“I’m really pleased with it and so proud of him for sitting so well and for so long.”

Wilson's wife Michelle Croft, added, "Graham loves a keepsake and a memory. We could spend a fortune on a picture but what are the odds of it being lost or broken?"

Pictured Michael Purkiss's tattoo. A tattoo artist has tattooed a portrait of the Queen on his leg to pay tribute to her, as they share the same birthday. See SWNS story SWLNtattoo. Michael Purkiss, 57, was so upset by the death of Queen Elizabeth II that he decided to tattoo a portrait of her just above his leg knee. He decided to get the tattoo as he has the same birthday as the Queen, and he used to joke with people that every year she would send him a cake. Michael was also 'really sad' when he found out the Queen had passed away.
A tattoo artist has inked a portrait of the Queen on his own leg as tribute. (SWNS)

Another Brit who shares a birthday with the late Queen was so moved by the news he even opted to ink a portrait of her on his own leg, just above his left knee.

Michael Purkiss, 57, from Southampton, used to joke with people that every year she would send him a cake on their joint celebratory day.

The piece took four hours and sits next to an existing tattoo of fictional superhero Batman's nemesis the Joker.

The image is from a photo of the Queen, when she was 26, on her way to parliament for the first time, with her smiling and looking away from the camera.

"I thought that I needed to keep her going somehow so I thought I'm going to tattoo her on my leg," said Purkiss.

He committed to the process as he said that when you are doing it yourself it hurts more, and you have to do it upside down.

Pictured Michael Purkiss. A tattoo artist has tattooed a portrait of the Queen on his leg to pay tribute to her, as they share the same birthday. See SWNS story SWLNtattoo. Michael Purkiss, 57, was so upset by the death of Queen Elizabeth II that he decided to tattoo a portrait of her just above his leg knee. He decided to get the tattoo as he has the same birthday as the Queen, and he used to joke with people that every year she would send him a cake. Michael was also 'really sad' when he found out the Queen had passed away.
Michael Purkiss shared a birthday with the late Queen. (SWNS)

"She just treated you the same as everyone else, she was very non-judgemental about everything," he said of the late monarch.

Recalling the series of events, he said, "On Thursday, I was watching the news with my mum and it was sad because she was ill.

"Then later on in the afternoon we obviously heard that she had died.

"Her birthday is on the same birthday as mine, so I felt really sad as I was always happy to tell everyone each year that the Queen sends me a cake.

"I always looked up to the Queen, thinking that she sets how we should act and treat each other – the old school stuff like opening doors for people."

Graffiti art

Scott Wilcock’s permanent tribute of the Queen at the Queens Arms pub in Manchester (Scott Wilcock/PA)(Scott Wilcock/PA)
Scott Wilcock’s moving tribute at the Queens Arms pub in Manchester (PA Images)

Expressing his respect in another creative way, one graffiti artist said he is "honoured and "emotional" to have painted a permanent tribute at a pub named after the late Queen.

Scott Wilcock, 35, who works under the name 'Snow Graffiti' created a wall mural at the Queens Arms pub in Audenshaw, Manchester.

It reads 'Thanks for everything ma'am' and 'Elizabeth II 1952-2022' on either side of a portrait of her wearing a crown.

“I don’t normally work on weekends but when the pub contacted me about doing a tribute to the Queen, I just thought it was such an amazing idea," Wilcock told PA news agency.

“I’ve done hundreds of murals but this one was especially emotional and I felt honoured to have been asked to do it.

“All through the day I had people coming over to talk to me and take photos while I was working, one woman even started crying.”

Wilcock, who lives in Wigan, was asked by the family-owned pub after one of the owners spotted his previous work of the mural 'Football Icons' for a pub in Prestwich.

To perfect his creation, he projected an image of the late monarch onto a black and white wall and mapped out an outline of her face, airbrushing the portrait from 7am on Saturday morning, taking him a day to complete.

As a former mechanic, he only began painting when furloughed during the COVID-19 pandemic, eventually quitting his job to follow his dream,

“When I do a piece, there’s no other way of explaining it, I just zone out and it’s like I’m in a different world,” Mr Wilcock said.

“But when I finished this one, I turned around and I hadn’t even realised that a massive crowd had formed behind me.

“It was a bit overwhelming but it was really nice and the atmosphere was just so positive.”

Scott Wilcock’s permanent tribute of the Queen at the Queens Arms pub in Manchester (Scott Wilcock/PA)(Scott Wilcock/PA)
Scott Wilcock exceeded the pub staff's expectations with his work. (PA Images)

General manager Cara Campbell, 47, told PA, "When it was announced that the Queen had passed away it was such a shock and everyone in the pub just went silent.

“We thought it would be lovely to have some kind of remembrance of her because, after all, the Queens Arms is literally named after her.

“When Scott had finished his mural it was just surreal. He has exceeded our expectations and managed to capture her likeness so unbelievably well.

“It’s been so lovely watching the public reaction to it and seeing people pulling up to take a photos of it.”

Additional reporting by PA, Caters and SWNS.