Several men and women from Chorley are counting down the hours to their very special royal rendezvous this week.
They are eagerly awaiting the Maundy Thursday visit of The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to Blackburn
Among the 88 men and 88 women from the county who are being honoured with Maundy Money are a handful from Chorley.
They include John Hopkins, a former reverend at the United Reformed Church, Hollinshead Street, for 22 years.
Also on the guest list are husband and wife Geoffrey and Freda Armstrong.
Freda is the long-serving chairman of governors at St Michael’s High School, Chorley and Geoffrey was churchwarden at St George’s Church, Chorley, for 38 years. Both still worship at St George’s.
Another is Philip Staziker, of St Laurence’s Church, Chorley.
The Royal party will attend the historic service in the cathedral followed by a reception and lunch at Blackburn Rovers Football Club.
The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which can be traced back to the fourth century and has its origin in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday.
Lancashire’s Bishop, Rt Rev Julian Henderson said: “It will be wonderful in my first year in the diocese to be able to welcome her majesty the Queen to the cathedral.
“Normally people visit her majesty to receive honours, so it is symbolic that this is the only occasion that the Queen travels to make an award.
“I am delighted for all the recipients from across the county, including those from Chorley, and I am sure that it will be a wonderful experience for all involved.”
“HM’s gift of Maundy Money to pensioners in the county in recognition of their service of others over the years takes place in a special service, on a day when Christians recall the servant ministry of Jesus as He washed the feet of his disciples, emphasising the importance of service and humility. I hope we all count this occasion to be an honour and privilege for Lancashire.”
The Dean of Blackburn, the very rev Christopher Armstrong, said: “This event is being held at the region’s Anglican Cathedral in Blackburn, but it is an honour for the whole of Lancashire, particularly as this is the first time in her long reign that Her Majesty has come to the Cathedral to present Maundy Money.”
The Lord-Lieutenant of Lancashire, The Lord Shuttleworth KCVO, the Queen’s personal representative in the county, said: “There can be no more prestigious royal visit than that of her majesty the Queen on Maundy
“What a delight for us all that it will be to Lancashire for the Maundy service in Blackburn Cathedral.
“The people of Lancashire will give HM a marvellous welcome on this unique occasion.”