A former Mothers’ Union President, and a lay canon at Bradford Cathedral, Elsie Clarke, is being honoured as one of 180 men and women to receive Royal Maundy Money from the Queen this year at Windsor Castle.
Elsie, 73, has been an active member of St John's Church in her home village Cononley near Keighley for 19 years, and was nominated to receive the honour by the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds.
Ninety woman and ninety men, all of whom are pensioners, were selected to receive the small silver coins for their service to their churches and communities. Each year the number increases to represent the age of the reigning monarch.
"I'm excited and really looking forward to it," said Elsie, who is attending the event along with her husband, David. "I keeping pinching myself and thinking it's not really me, as I don't think I've done more than others in the church."
However, the Rev John Peet, vicar at St John's Church, said: "What hasn't Elsie done for the church? We're delighted she is receiving this honour."
Following the Maundy Thursday service in St George’s Chapel, Windsor, the recipients are treated to lunch in the state apartments at Windsor Castle.
The name "Maundy" and the ceremony itself derive from an instruction, or mandatum, of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper that his followers should love one another – which he demonstrated by washing his disciples feet. ( John 13:3-11). In the Middle Ages, English monarchs washed the feet of beggars in imitation of Jesus, and presented gifts and money to the poor. By the eighteenth century the practice had died out with an official taking the monarch’s place, but in the 1930s the new royal custom was instituted by King George V.