Her Majesty the Queen visits Blackburn Cathedral to present Maundy Money

Tim Bradley 17.04.2014 Queens Maundy visit to Blackburn Cathedral. Group photo outside as she leaves
© Tim Bradley 17.04.2014 Queens Maundy visit to Blackburn Cathedral. Group photo outside as she leaves
Published: 17 April 2014
Category: News
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN presented Maundy money to men and women from across the County at Blackburn Cathedral on Thursday, April 17.
Every year the Monarch visits a UK cathedral or abbey to give out Maundy coins to people aged 70 and over in recognition of their service to their community and church.
This year’s visit was the first time The Queen, who by tradition is also the Duke of Lancaster, has visited Blackburn Cathedral. She was accompanied by His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh.
Buckingham Palace invited 88 men and 88 women from the Diocese (in line with The Queen’s age this year) to receive the special coins.
The Dean of Blackburn, The Very Rev Christopher Armstrong said: “I am delighted that the Cathedral was asked to host The Queen for the Maundy Service. “It has been a huge privilege as well as a great responsibility on behalf of the bishop, the Diocese and the County of Lancashire. “The Queen always enjoys the annual Maundy Service and I am certain she was doubly delighted at the fantastic welcome she received from Lancastrians who turned out in great numbers to greet her on the short journey from Blackburn Station to the Cathedral.
“The event itself was conducted to the glory of God as Maundy Thursday is an important part of any Christian’s preparation for Easter and I am aware that The Queen conducts her Maundy responsibilities with great devotion.“The visit was a wonderful experience for all involved.”
Lancashire’s Bishop, Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, who was appointed in October last year, added: “It was wonderful to welcome Her Majesty to the Cathedral in my first year in the Diocese. “The occasion was an honour and privilege for Blackburn and for Lancashire. The Cathedral looked magnificent for the service and was a credit to the town and the County.

“HM’s gift of Maundy money to pensioners is symbolic. The Money is given in recognition of their service to others over the years and takes place on a day when Christians recall the servant ministry of Jesus as He washed the feet of His disciples, emphasising the importance of service and humility.

“Normally people visit Her Majesty to receive honours, so it is also symbolic that today is the only occasion that The Queen travels to make an award.”

The Royal party arrived at Blackburn Railway Station at 10.45am and they were then driven slowly down Church Street to the Cathedral for the historic service.  In keeping with the wishes of The Queen it was business as usual with very little disruption in the town.
That didn’t stop thousands of well-wishers lining the street however, with Blackburn Market – on the route followed by the Royal car – bedecked with bunting and flags as many stallholders took time out from their work to join the other crowds to cheer Her Majesty.
As the Royal car drew up outside the Cathedral, the Royal Standard was raised on top of the spire for the first time ever and the Cathedral became the Chapel Royal for the day.
Inside the building an expectant crowd stood as a magnificent fanfare echoed around the building and the service began.
The combined Choirs of Blackburn Cathedral and the Chapel Royal then led the congregation in singing the hymn ‘Praise to the holiest in the height’ as the processions began.
The Cathedral Procession was followed by the Ecumenical Procession and then the Queen’s Procession (which saw Her Majesty become the first ever reigning monarch to enter Blackburn Cathedral) and finally The Royal Almonry Procession.
The last of these included The Children of the Royal Almonry, all drawn from Lancashire schools. The youngsters are Scarlett Smith, 7, from St Mary’s RC Primary School, Langho; Kimbarly De Sousa, 10, from  St Anne’s RC Primary, Blackburn; Jack Duerden, 6, from Feniscowles Junior School and Lucas Woodhouse, 8, from St Mary’s RC Primary, Osbaldeston.
The Almonry group also included the magnificently attired Yeoman of the Guard, the bodyguard of the British Monarch and the oldest British military corps in existence. The Yeomen took up positions all around the cathedral, each holding a Yeomanry standard.
After hymns were sung; prayers said and Psalms sung by the Choirs, The First Lesson was read by The Dean and this was then followed by the first distribution of Maundy Money to recipients on the south side of the Cathedral.
The Queen looked radiant in a cerise-coloured outfit as she made her way around the aisles to hand out the Money, stopping occasionally to speak to some of the recipients and leaving a long trail of happy smiles in her wake. The Second Lesson was then read by local MP and former Foreign Secretary, The Rt Hon. Jack Straw before the second and final distribution of Maundy Money on the north side of the Cathedral.
Prayers of thanksgiving were then said after the distribution was complete and there followed a stirring rendition of the National Anthem which, in keeping with tradition, had the second line ‘Long live our noble Duke’, to recognise the Queen’s status as The Duke of Lancaster.
The brief but memorable service was then concluded by a series of retiring processions and the Queen and the Duke then posed for photographs outside the West Door with the Yeoman, senior clergy and The Children of the Royal Almonry. In keeping with Royal Maundy tradition, The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh then spent time with religious and civic dignitaries at a reception followed by a civic lunch. Both events took place at the Ewood Park the ground of Blackburn Rovers Football Club.
Meanwhile the recipients of Maundy Money were the guests of honour at another civic event hosted by Blackburn with Darwen Council at nearby King George’s Hall.

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