Queen hands pensioners Maundy money
Published 28/03/2013 | 13:01
The Queen has presented Maundy money to pensioners who have worked tirelessly for their communities.
Joined by the Duke of Edinburgh, she distributed the traditional coins during the annual Royal Maundy service which this year was held in Oxford for the first time in almost 400 years.
Charles I was the last monarch to carry out the ceremony in the city in 1642 and 1643 when his court was established there during the Civil War.
Within Oxford's ancient Christ Church cathedral, the Queen handed out the famous red and white purses of money to 87 women and 87 men - as she is now in her 87th year.
The red purse contained a £5 coin and 50p coin commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Queen's coronation in 1953. The white purse carried the famous Maundy money, silver 1p, 2p, 3p and 4p pieces - equal to 87p, again marking her 87th year.
The recipients were retired pensioners recommended by clergy and ministers of all denominations, in recognition of service to the Church and the community in the diocese of Oxford.
Barbara Muldowney, 85, from Wokingham, Berkshire, has been a stalwart member of St Bartholomew's church in the nearby village of Arborfield. She said: "I was nominated for a number of things, particularly 40 years' teaching, also for membership of Arborfield's church for 50 years and working amongst the young people. I'm tremendously honoured by it, I think it's a tremendous privilege - I feel very inadequate."
The Maundy Service, which dates back to the 13th century, has Biblical origins and echoes the story of Christ washing the feet of his disciples shortly before his death. Initially the sovereign gave money to the poor - and washed recipients' feet. Foot-washing ended with James II in the 18th century.
Patricia Peirson, a 90-year-old great-grandmother of five, has been a member of the congregation at St Mary's Church in her hometown of Datchet for more than 50 years. She said: "I was amazed to be nominated. I never would have aspired to something like this. I'm very pleased. I'm going to save the money and give it to my great-grandchildren."
The Maundy service is held each year on the day before Good Friday.