Page last updated at 12:55 GMT, Thursday, 1 April 2010 13:55 UK

Queen hands out Maundy money at Derby Cathedral


The Queen presented pensioners with Maundy money purses

The Queen has presented pensioners with Maundy money in Derby in what is believed to be the 800th anniversary of the Easter ceremony.

She wore a duck-egg blue jacket and hat at the service at Derby Cathedral alongside the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Queen presented the pensioners, recommended for their work in local churches, with their Maundy money.

The first recorded ceremony was held by King John in Knaresborough, North Yorkshire, in 1210.

One recipient, Bill Attenborough, 91, from Derby, was an RAF photographer entrusted to take pictures when the Queen made her coronation state visit to Northern Ireland in 1953.

Mr Attenborough said: "It's quite an honour and it was a surprise as well. I have never met the Queen but I have photographed her so today brings back a lot of memories."

Flag waving

Sam Beswick, 80, from Littleover, Derbyshire, was put forward because of his work looking after Derby Cathedral.

He said: "I feel very honoured to be receiving the money. You don't usually express it but it's a feeling of self-satisfaction."

More than 2,000 well-wishers waited in the streets around the cathedral, which was full to its capacity of 800.

Many waved flags and cheered as the Queen arrived with her husband in the royal Daimler.

She was then ushered inside for the hour-long service, during which the Duke of Edinburgh read a passage from St John.

It's wonderful that we have been chosen
Cathedral spokesman Rob Marshall

The Queen handed out the two purses of the Maundy money to 84 men and 84 women.

The purses were carried on large salvers by Yeoman Warders from the Tower of London.

In the red purses presented to the pensioners were £5 coins and 50p pieces.

In the second purse, which was white, there were uniquely minted one, two, three and four penny pieces, the sum of which equals the Queen's age. All the coins are legal tender.

As the Queen left the service, carrying a posy of spring flowers and her black handbag, she dropped her order of service.

It was picked up by a schoolgirl who had been chosen to take part in the royal procession.

The Queen then greeted the crowd before getting back in her Daimler to go for lunch.

Every year, the Maundy service is held in a different church or cathedral. It is the first time Derby has been chosen during the Queen's reign.

Rob Marshall, spokesman for the cathedral, said: "It's wonderful that we have been chosen. There have been several rehearsals. It's really been building up to today. There is a real excitement."

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