Queen visiting county for historic Maundy service

Annual event: The Queen hands out Maundy money at York Minster in 2012
Annual event: The Queen hands out Maundy money at York Minster in 2012
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Lancashire will bring out the silver service when the Queen pays an historic visit to the county on Thursday.

More than 170 seventy-somethings will be guests of honour at Blackburn Cathedral as Her Majesty carries out the annual ceremony of handing out Maundy money.

The recipients, 88 men and 88 women, have all been nominated because of their sterling service to the church and the community across the county. It will be the first time Lancashire has been chosen to host the ancient occasion.

“Normally people visit Her Majesty to receive honours,” said Bishop of Lancashire Julian Henderson who will welcome the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. “So it is symbolic that this is the only occasion that the Queen travels to make an award.

“I am delighted for all the recipients from across the county and I am sure that it will be a womderful experience for all involved.”

Amongst the 176 recipients of Maundy money will be 77-year-old David Bird, from Preston. He is a member of the Scout Association who this year completes 50 years of adult service. The retired railway manager is a Methodist Church steward and will attend the service in his scout uniform.

Garstang vicar Canon Ron Greenall, 73, will also be receiving Maundy money for his work in the community north of Preston. He was ordained in Blackburn Cathedral 50 years ago this year and continues to minister in the diocese. Canon Greenall founded a charity which cares for the physically and mentally handicapped in rural communities.

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which can be traced back to the fourth century and has its origins in the commandment Jesus gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before he was crucified. In the 13th century it became the custom of the monarch to distribute money and gifts to the poor. And, although the service has usually been held at Westminster Abbey, the Queen has been taking it on the road since 1953.

The Royal party will arrive at Blackburn Railway Station around 10.45am and will be driven down Church Street to the Cathedral.

After the service, which is ticket only, there will be a reception at Blackburn Rovers Football Club.