Preparations in place for Queen’s visit

Lancashire men and women who will receive Maundy Money from HM the Queen at Blackburn Cathedral gathered there last Saturday to hear the traditional Maundy Lecture.
Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: Carl Court/PA WireQueen Elizabeth II. Photo: Carl Court/PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: Carl Court/PA Wire

The Queen is giving out Maundy Money in Lancashire for the first time on Maundy Thursday, April 17th. A total of 88 men and 88 women – because 88 is the monarch’s age – have been nominated to receive the Maundy coins, including recipients from the Ribble Valley.

They travelled with family and friends to the region’s Anglican cathedral to hear the Maundy Lecture, which is held every year a few weeks before the big day.

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The Maundy Service is run by the Royal Almonry, an office of the Royal Household, and the lecture was delivered by the Lord High Almoner, currently the Bishop of Worcester, the Rt Rev. John Inge. Lancashire’s own Bishop, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, also attended the event.

After leading the large group who attended the lecture in prayers, Bishop John outlined the history of the service; gave explanations of the symbolism that surrounds it and answered questions.

He said: “It will be a wonderful and historic day and it is my privilege to talk to you about the Royal Maundy. It will be a day of great celebration of Christian service, with Her Majesty being the model of leadership through service.

“It will be very moving for you to receive this recognition. It’s a unique honour as, unlike for other honours, the Sovereign comes to you.”

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The Bishop went on to describe how the act of the monarch giving Maundy Money is an act of humility, reflecting Jesus’s act of humility in washing the feet of the disciples the day before Good Friday.

There were moments of humour from past services as well, like the tale of one recipient who gave the Queen a jar of home-made marmalade in return for the Maundy Money!

Following the lecture, Paul Leddington Wright, secretary to the Almonry, discussed the practicalities of the day itself with the recipients, and Bishop Julian gave thanks for the lecture. The Queen will attend the Royal Maundy Service in Blackburn with HRH Duke of Edinburgh on April 17th. Although the service is a private, ticketed event, there will be lots of opportunities for the wider community to get involved.

The cathedral is working closely with the council, police and other local agencies, as well as the Royal Almonry in London, to ensure the event runs as smoothly as possible.

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A full programme of Royal themed activities is planned, with Blackburn with Darwen Council working with businesses and groups.

This will include family attractions on Maundy Thursday as part of the normal Easter programme of events.

The royal party is due to arrive at Blackburn Railway Station at approximately 10-45 am and will be driven slowly down Church Street to the cathedral for the historic service.

Arrangements are being made to ensure anybody who wants to help welcome them can do this safely.

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In keeping with the wishes of the Queen it will be business as usual ,with very little disruption in the town.

Following the service, in keeping with Royal Maundy tradition, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are due to spend time with religious and civic dignitaries at Blackburn Rovers Football Club. Because the main focus of the day is the town centre, there will be very limited opportunity to see the Queen here.

Canon Andrew Hindley who is co-ordinating the cathedral arrangements locally said: “The lecture was a happy occasion and everyone who attended learned a lot.

“Meanwhile, our preparations for the historic service itself are now moving in the final stages.

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“The music and hymns have been chosen, and the cathedral is being made ready over the next few weeks.

“I am delighted to say that the existing partnership between the borough and the cathedral has shone through in the way everyone has worked together.”