Former minister set for date with Queen

Rev John Hopkins
Rev John Hopkins

A Chorley church man was more than happy to cut short a family holiday after being given the opportunity to meet the Queen.

John Hopkins, a former reverend at the Hollinshead Street, United Reformed Church for 22 years, will be presented with Maundy money at Blackburn Cathedral on Thursday, April 17.

Rev Hopkins is part of a 176-person strong party that will meet the Queen.

And he was absolutely delighted after hearing the news.

He said: “It’s only just sunk in that I’ll be meeting the Queen. The letter came in the post. I saw it was from Buckingham Palace but I had no idea what for.

“Then I opened it and saw I would have the chance to meet her.

“I was just in a state of shock.”

But not everything went to plan for Rev Hopkins, especially when he found out he was meant to be on holiday at that particular time in


He added: “The ceremony has clashed with a family holiday in South Wales.

“At first I thought I can’t actually go because I’m away.

“But then I thought, of course I had to go – this is a chance to meet the Queen.”

The father-of-two will now be travelling back the night before with one of his daughters to ensure he will make the prestigious event.

He says his nomination came completely out the blue and the grandfather is still trying to find out of who actually put his name forward.

He said: “As far as I’m aware, each diocese the Queen visits has a sort of panel.

“They apparently then put the names forward and the letters are sent out.

“But I have no idea of who put my name forward, but I’m very excited now.”

Rev Hopkins is 10 years retired from the United Reformed Church, but still conducted services until 2012.

And he admits he does still miss his job.

He said: “I officially retired from the United Reformed Church in 2002.

“But I still conducted services at many churches after I retired as people are always looking for help.

“But I finally stood down 18 months ago and I really do miss it.”