On Maundy Thursday, the Queen presented a white pouch containing 88 silver pence and a red pouch containing 5 guineas in legal tender to 88 old men and 88 elderly women at Blackburn Cathedral.
Except only 87 men and 87 women could make it. My mother, Mary Haworth, was too frail to get to the Cathedral. She has lived in a Nursing Home for 2 1/2 years, has no mobility, can’t even sit up without support, no continence, very little memory, and limited conversation.
The 176 recipients were chosen because they are elderly and because they have all made a significant contribution to the church and the community.
Mum is 90. She was a SPG missionary in Kuching, Sarawak. She taught KS1 in a deprived area of Nelson. She was very active at St Luke’s Brierfield, where she was a Pastoral Assistant and then a Lay Reader, and preached every month until she was 84. She was Lay Chair of Deanery Synod at one time, and also a member of the Diocesan FLAME committee (whatever that was). She was a member of the Third Order of St Francis, and held a position of responsibility in the Diocesan group at one time. And we have forgotten many of the things she used to do. And she brought up 4 daughters, 2 of whom are parish priests.
So because she couldn’t get to the Cathedral, the Dean brought her Maundy Money to her. He told us about the service in the Cathedral and said a few prayers. We sang a hymn. And then we made a party of it. The Nursing Home was BRILLIANT (and as I write this, I am aware that I am missing the Panorama documentary on dreadful care homes) – they put on a buffet in a separate lounge, and helped to make the whole occasion happen. We were able to celebrate mum and her achievements and tell her how proud we are of her. The Mayor of Pendle came along and the local press, as well as our cousins Ann and David and other guests from church.
It is sad that she didn’t get to see the Queen on Maundy Thursday but it was a grand occasion for her. We are so lucky that we have been given this opportunity to celebrate mum while she is still alive.