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A Lancashire woman has experienced one of the biggest days of her life as she met Her Majesty The Queen today, Thursday, and was presented with Maundy Money at The Royal Maundy service; taking place this year at Worcester Cathedral.

Every year, on Maundy Thursday, the current Monarch usually distributes the special coins to men and women aged 70 and over to mark their Christian service. They are nominated by their local Church of England Dioceses and gather from around the country in a different Cathedral each year to receive the honour.

This year the venue was Worcester Cathedral and, due to His Majesty the King being unable to attend as a result of his recent cancer diagnosis and treatment, Her Majesty Queen Camilla handed out the money on his behalf.

Jean Duerden from Rossendale, who worships at Blackburn Cathedral, received Maundy Money for services to this Diocese over many years. She has helped to coordinate a number of key Diocesan events, including our huge Diocesan Conference in 2022.

Her citation reads: “Jean has volunteered faithfully for many years in parish, community and for the wider Diocese. Most recently she took on the administration of the Diocesan Conference which was a massive task, but done with grace and great efficiency. As a steward at Blackburn Cathedral, Jean welcomes all who attend services and she assists in the leading of worship there by singing in the choir.”

Speaking today Jean said: “I was absolutely thrilled when I received the invitation from Buckingham Palace to receive the Maundy Money but initially I was convinced I wasn’t old enough!

“So I shouted to Alexa … ‘how old do you have to be to get Maundy Money?’ and Alexa assured me that I had made it as I am over 70!

“I am especially pleased the Cathedral chosen for this year is Worcester as Sam Hudson, the previous Director of Music at Blackburn Cathedral, is now Director at Worcester and we are close friends.

“This will be a second Maundy for Sam, as he was at Blackburn Cathedral when HM Queen Elizabeth and The Duke of Edinburgh came to Blackburn for Royal Maundy.”

Jean continued: “That year I was a member of Cathedral Chapter and had the privilege of sitting in the Chancel with the Royal Party and being presented to the late Queen and the late Duke at an Ewood Park reception after the service. 

“I was very much looking forward to meeting the King this year and I’m so sorry that he needs to avoid crowds whilst undergoing chemotherapy but delighted that Queen Camilla will do the honours.

“I met her briefly years ago when at the Sandringham Flower Show. All very informal of course, compared with what will be happening on Thursday!”

Commenting on the news Rt Rev. Philip North, Bishop of Blackburn, said today: “I am absolutely delighted that Jean is to be honoured in this way; it is thoroughly well deserved. Jean has been a valued servant of the Diocese for many years and events like our Diocesan Conference simply couldn’t happen without her supremely well-organised behind the scenes work!”

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which can be traced back to the fourth century and has its origin in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday. The number of nominated recipients is equal to the age of the reigning Monarch in the year the Maundy Money is being presented.

When she ascended to the throne in 1952, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth was the first monarch to break with tradition and take the Maundy Thursday service around the country to the great Cathedrals. Previous monarchs had always presented Maundy Money in London or at Windsor.

Captions for the above photos:

  • Jean after the Service today with her Maundy Money pouches. Picture by Jeremy Duerden. 
  • Jean Duerden on the welcome desk at the last Diocesan Conference in 2022; one of the events that led to her nomination for Maundy Money in 2024. Picture by Ronnie Semley.
  • Picture of Maundy Money coins and pouches. The coins remain the same each year; only the date changes. Royal Mint file photo.





Ronnie Semley, March 2024