Three members of Merseyside churches were the proud recipients of invitations to the Queen’s annual Maundy Thursday commemoration which recognises the service of elderly people to their community and their church.
Her Majesty presented specially minted coins known as ‘Maundy Money’ to 90 men and 90 women from across the country to mark her 90th birthday this year.
This year’s Royal Maundy service was held at St Georges Chapel, Windsor, for the first time since 1959. Since then Her Majesty has travelled to cathedrals and abbeys around the country to make presentations to local pensioners from the host diocese. She made the presentation at Liverpool Cathedral in 2004 (pictured right).
During the service the Queen handed two purses - one white and one red - to each person. The red purse contained a £5 coin commemorating the Queen's 90th birthday and a 50p coin marking the 950th anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, while the white purse contained uniquely minted Maundy coins, equating in pence to her age.
The Royal Maundy Service is an ancient ceremony which originated in the commandment (Latin: ‘mandatum’) Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples the day before Good Friday. The Royal Family has taken part in the service since the 13th century.
'Floating on air'
Rev Joyce Weaver, of St Ann’s Church in Warrington, was nominated by Bishop Paul to honour her impact on her local community.
Rev Weaver, 72, was ordained 16 years ago – one year after her daughter Margaret, who is the vicar of the Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Hindley Green. She is the only person in the diocese of Liverpool to have been ordained after one of their children.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo before the service, she said: “I was absolutely thrilled and very humbled by it. I feel so privileged and excited to be offered this.
“My husband Arnold and I have been married for 51 years and we have always had the front door of our home open to anyone, whether it’s disadvantaged young people or vulnerable adults and there has always been a meal, a warm welcome and a bed to sleep in. We are a family of five but most nights there were more than five of us at the dinner table.”
Rev Weaver said people in the community have been very supportive of her since she received the letter from Buckingham Palace. She said: “I did not realise how happy people in the community would be, so it has been great to see how delighted everyone is. They feel like they are owning some of it as well and that is lovely. It is all so surreal. I think I am floating on air.”
'A day I will never forget'
Fred Martin, 72, of St Nicholas Whiston, was nominated by his vicar Rev Andy Telfer, for his long commitment to the Scouts and faithful service behind the scenes in a variety of roles from churchyard maintenance to his current role on the sound desk.
Fred wrote for his parish magazine: “I try to be a good Christian; I’m nothing special, I just try to do good things. My late wife Barbara and I ran Cub Scouts for ten years, which we loved and enjoyed. Later on in life, I helped in revitalizing orphanages and hospitals in Romania.”
Fred added “It was a day that I will never forget and will cherish always. I am honoured to have received this award. It was such a nice surprise to be nominated.”
'The parish was very proud too'
Also receiving Maundy Money from the Queen was Marj Healy. The 99-year-old World War Two veteran has always been a parishioner at St Luke's Walton - she was baptised, confirmed and married there. Her vicar Rev Ellen Loudon nominated her for her constant dedication to the parish over many years. Rev Loudon said: “At 99 years old she is still an active member of our community. She's often found in the kitchen doing the washing up after church! Just one contribution amongst many that Marj adds to community life.”
Marj has been a Mother’s Union member since she was a young wife in the 1940s, and served teas for the fans at Everton’s Goodison Park ground for many years. She has also been a dedicated member of the League of Welldoers, Liverpool’s oldest independent charity, which aims to reach out to people of all ages in the community of Merseyside and provide opportunities to maintain and improve their quality of life.
Her daughter Marjorie Hobbs, who accompanied her to the service in Windsor, said: “The day went very well - it went so quickly! She enjoyed it, she was very proud - She insisted on wearing her Mother’s Union badge for the day. The parish was very proud too – on the Sunday before the service, St Luke’s gave her a lunch with a lovely cake saying ‘Marj is meeting the Queen’!”