Thursday 2nd April saw the city of Sheffield
granted a visit from HM Queen Elizabeth II, who presented ‘Maundy Money’ to 138 pensioners (89 men and 89 women) of the community.
The Maundy Thursday service is one of the oldest religious
ceremonies in the United Kingdom. Inspired by the mandatum issued at the Last Supper, the earliest Maundy ceremonies
date back to the 4th century, performed at the time by Church
officials. King John was the first monarch to issue alms to the public in April
1210, with Edward III setting up the current practice of issuing coins in
correspondence to the ruling monarchs age, when he issued 50 pence to 50
parishioners when aged 50 in 1363.
Queen Elizabeth has awarded Maundy money nearly every year
since her ascension to the throne in 1952, with Royal representatives standing
in for her on just four occasions.
Her Sheffield visit marked her 60th
appearance at the Maundy Thursday service. In keeping with HM’s 89th
birthday on April 21st, 89 men and 89 women who had been chosen due
to their service to the Church and the community stood at Sheffield Cathedral
to receive coins.
Each honouree is given two leather string purses by the
monarch – a red purse containing ordinary coinage in lieu of food and clothing,
and a white purse containing specially minted Maundy money in 2, 3, and 4 pence
coins, which are legal tender.
Bill Shepard (pictured above with wife Helen), who has
farmed British and Aberdeen Angus cattle in Laughton-en-le-Morthen, near
Sheffield since 1950, holds the distinction of being among Dovecote Park’s oldest
producers. At 91 years old he is still regularly sending in cattle on our British and Angus schemes, and keeps up frequent personal communication with the livestock team.
‘I knew of it, but I hadn't appreciated what an honour and distinction it was,’ says Bill of the ceremony. ‘65
million people in the country and only 138 receiving it – and the fact that the
Queen brings it to you. You don’t know you’ve been nominated until you get a
letter from Buckingham Palace!’
The day itself was
just indescribable – It was one of those days when the courtesy and the
humility of everyone involved was overwhelming. Everything from the attendants
to the Yeoman of the Guard, right through to meeting the Queen - everything
about it was first class!’
Dovecote Park are delighted to see Bill recognised within
the Sheffield community, and would like to extend our congratulations and best
wishes to Bill and Helen on their upcoming 65th wedding anniversary.