Maundy Thursday: Queen hands out money at Blackburn Cathedral

'The feeling around the town is that this is our monarch... paying us a wonderful honour'

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The Queen has handed out Maundy coins in a traditional royal service at Blackburn Cathedral.

Eighty-eight men and 88 women aged over 70 were presented with the coins in recognition of their work in the church and the community.

Hundreds of people lined the streets for the Queen's first visit to the cathedral.

Retired England footballer Jimmy Armfield, a lay canon at the cathedral, said the service was "very moving".

'Overwhelming ceremony'

The Blackpool FC legend said the choir and organist had "done Blackburn proud".

"I'm sure the Queen would have been impressed," he said.

Each of the 176 recipients of the Maundy coin, one man and one woman for each year of the Queen's life, received a red purse of normal money and a white purse of silver Maundy coins.

One of the recipients, Raymond Sutcliffe, said the pomp of the ceremony was "overwhelming" and he could not hold back the tears.

He said: "I couldn't imagine I would go to something like this in my lifetime."

Duke of Edinburgh and the Queen arriving at Blackburn Cathedral The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh
The service at Blackburn Cathedral It was the Queen's first visit to Blackburn Cathedral
The Dean of Blackburn Christopher Armstrong, the Queen and Bishop of Blackburn, the Right Reverend Julian Henderson Eighty-eight men and 88 women were presented with the traditional coins
The Queen meeting well wishers at Blackburn Cathedral Hundreds of people turned out to see the Queen
The Mitchell family The Mitchell family were among those who came out to see the Queen
Maundy coins Each recipient received a red purse of normal money and a white purse of silver Maundy coins

Another recipient Brian Milner, presented with the special minted coins for his work at St Nicholas Church in Fleetwood, said it was a "wonderful experience".

Charles II

Her Majesty, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, went from the cathedral to a civic lunch at Ewood Park, Blackburn Rovers FC.

The Maundy money recipients went to a lunch at Blackburn's King George's Hall.

The Church of England Maundy tradition has its origins in the commandment to "love one another", issued by Jesus to his disciples after he had washed their feet on the day before Good Friday.

Members of the royal family have taken part in Maundy ceremonies since the 13th Century but coins were first used in the reign of Charles II.

Unlike normal coinage, which has been updated as the Queen has aged, the specially-minted coins carry the original portrait used on coins issued in 1953, the year of her coronation.

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