Six older men and women from across Lancashire have received Royal Maundy Money from Her Majesty The Queen.
Every year, on Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday) Her Majesty usually distributes the special Maundy coins to men and women aged 70 and over in an ancient ceremony to mark their Christian service. They are nominated by their local Church of England Dioceses and can include nominees from other Christian denominations.
Due to the coronavirus lockdown, Her Majesty’s usual practice of handing out Maundy Money was sadly cancelled this year. The number of nominees nationally were 94 men and 94 women (the number of each gender always equals Her Majesty’s current age).
Six of the nominations were from our Diocese and they have now received their Maundy Money in a special parcel, along with a letter signed personally by Her Majesty.
The parcel contained The Queen’s letter (sharing her regret not to be able to distribute the money personally); a letter from the Lord High Almoner; a history of Royal Maundy service; a white pouch which contained the Maundy money – 94p in newly minted coins, a number which also corresponds to the Sovereign’s age and a red pouch which had two coins in it - a £5 coin commemorating birth of Wordsworth and a commemorative 50p coin.
In the letter Her Majesty says: “This ancient Christian ceremony, which reflects Jesus's instruction to his disciples to love one another, is a call to the service of others; something that has been at the centre of my life. I believe it is a call to service for all of us.
“It is one of my most rewarding duties as Sovereign to observe this highly significant ceremony at such an important point in the Christian calendar.
“I know that you, as a recipient of this year's Maundy Gift, will be as deeply disappointed as I am that it is not going ahead, while understanding the necessary decision in the current circumstances. However, this should not mean your invaluable contribution within the community goes unnoticed and I am sending this Maundy Gift to thank you for your Christian service. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your families at this difficult time.”
Speaking today Diocesan Bishop, Rt Rev Julian Henderson said: "I congratulate all the recipients of Maundy Money this year who were nominated from our Diocese.
“While it is, of course, sad they were unable to be presented with their Maundy Money in person by The Queen, I am delighted Her Majesty was able to send this wonderful Maundy package including her letter.
“The Queen has always conducted her Maundy responsibilities with great devotion and this is a bit of good news during these difficult times as the coronavirus lockdown continues. I warmly congratulate all the recipients and thank them for their service.”
Royal Maundy recipients from Lancashire
Judith Fitton – Anchorsholme All Saints
Two decades ago Judith stood in as a ‘one off’ when the local outreach to the elderly needed a member of kitchen staff. She has barely missed a week since and has led the programme for the last 10 years. Judith stood down from this role this summer. However, she still runs the kitchen for Messy Church and the summer and Christmas fairs. She also runs a monthly meet up for single people (many of whom are widows/widowers) and has helped at a local foodbank, library and much more. She has tireless energy and serves others as if serving Christ Himself. A godly and passionate woman.
John Crewdson – Lancaster St Mary, The Priory
Since retiring as a professor of economics, Professor Crewdson has held directorships in a number of educational and charitable institutions. Until this summer John was the Chair of the Board of Governors at Ripley St Thomas Church of England Academy, the largest CofE school in the Diocese, and he is now Director of the Bay Learning Trust. John also supports a number of charitable organisations and has served his church through singing in the choir for as long as anyone can remember.
Graham Stamford – Ecumenical nomination
Carnforth Free Methodist Church
Graham set up ’Sportsreach’ in 1997 as an inter-denominational approach to working with disengaged young people through sport. It has been hugely successful and now not only has sports camps every school holiday but even has international reach with Christian sports camps around Europe, Africa and Asia. The results have been as clear as Graham’s passion, with hundreds of young people each year getting to know themselves, their chosen sports and God a lot more. Graham has continued to coach, speak in schools and even play football well into his 80s, and his clear desire to reach young people with the Gospel has by no means tired.
Barbara Pendlebury – Lower Darwen St James
Barbara is someone who quietly cares for everyone behind the scenes; be that lonely and elderly in the community or the church family. She is someone who does people’s shopping, takes them on trips out, delivers a home-made cake, visits those who are ill. At church Barbara is always on hand to help with a smile, from cooking and cleaning up for community family meals and children’s holidays clubs, to raising money for charities and being a welcome, caring face, often with a dish cloth in hand. She probably doesn’t realise the impact that her presence and her actions have on those around her. Barbara would never expect to be thanked for her service with something like this, which makes her the perfect candidate.
Hilary Murphy – Trinity, Accrington
Hilary has spent a life serving others. She did this first for many years as a nurse, and then took her considerable skill set into priestly ministry in The Church of England. After serving her curacy in what is officially the most deprived parish in the UK, Hilary spent a number of years in South Africa. Here she served the poorest people who lived in informal settlements and used her two professions in bringing about healing wherever she could. Hilary has come back to the UK now and it is no surprise that she again finds herself in a place which has its fair share of hardship and also no surprise that she is active in the community there.
David Harrison – Preston St John (The Minster)
David has been churchwarden at Preston Minister for a number of years and has overseen the biggest transformation in its long and distinguished history. The church has gone through a long time of negotiation, reordering and upheaval. This has become a time of rejoicing for many but it has not always been easy. Dave has worked hard in the background, giving more than full time working hours at times and has not put himself forwards for thanks or praise; but he certainly deserves it. He has worked tirelessly in bringing about something which will benefit generations to come.