Maundy thrill for Brid ladies

Barbara Mavis with her Maundy money purses outside York Minster
Barbara Mavis with her Maundy money purses outside York Minster

BRIDLINGTON was well represented at last week’s Maundy Thursday celebrations, when the Queen came to York for the special presentation event. And two of the lucky recipients of ‘Maundy money’ came away not only with the coins, but with some of the best memories of their entire lives.

Barbara Mavis, 80, and Shirley Cummings, 76, are both associated with the Priory, and received their invitations to the event in February.

Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd alongside the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, during a visit to the Yorkshire Museum after the Royal Maundy Service held in York Minster. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 5, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Maundy. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Queen Elizabeth II waves to the crowd alongside the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, during a visit to the Yorkshire Museum after the Royal Maundy Service held in York Minster. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday April 5, 2012. See PA story ROYAL Maundy. Photo credit should read: Anna Gowthorpe/PA Wire

Usually the money is given out to people in a single Christian diocese. However, in recognition of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, this year there were representatives from all 44 diocese. A total of 86 men and 86 women were each presented with 86 pence in Maundy money - the number, as always, reflecting the monarch’s age.

Mrs Mavis said: “It was an absolutely wonderful day.

“We had to leave very early, at 7am, and report to the Assembly Rooms in York to be briefed. I felt like a little girl back at school: we were given barley sugar to suck and told to make sure we went to the toilet, because we would have such a long wait before the Queen arrived.

“We walked the 200 yards to the Minster and sat and listened to the organ, and then after an hour they opened the main doors, ready for the Queen’s arrival. We could tell how close she was by the loud cheers outside.

“Then she came into the Minster, and she is wonderful, with the most piercing blue eyes and beautiful skin.

“It was a marvellous service; none of us were very young, but when they played the national anthem you could see everyone standing up proud and straight, almost visibly two inches taller!

“Afterwards, outside the Minster, the atmosphere was fantastic. The police, crowd, families - everyone was so happy and smiling. I met people from all over the country, and the sun was shining. And then we went to Betty’s Café, and everyone there wanted to hear all about it.

“I feel so honoured to have been presented the Maundy money by the Queen. It was just a very, very special day.”

Shirley Cummings agrees that it was an amazing experience. She said: “It was the most fantastic day of my life!

“The service was wonderful, with magnificent music and singing, and after the first lesson the Queen started the distribution of the Maundy money.

“She did not speak to any of the recipients, but she did look everyone in the eye and smile when she gave them the purses.”

As always the purses contained specially minted coins: a white purse with one, two, three and four penny silver coins, adding up to the Queen’s age; and a red one, with a commemorative Jubilee £5 coin and a 50p - but all worth far more than their face value.

Not that any of the recipients want to part with them. Mrs Mavis said: “We were warned that there might be coin dealers waiting outside the Minster, wanting to buy the money for collectors. But I won’t be selling - these will be a family heirloom!”

And acquiring that heirloom has made 2012 an even more special year for Mrs Mavis, who was 80 on February 29th - meaning that technically it was only her 20th birthday this year - which possibly makes her one of the youngest Maundy money recipients ever. The tradition of giving out Maundy money dates back to the 15th century