The Queen honours churchgoers in the diocese with Maundy Gifts


Shelia Wicks, Canon Margaret Sedgwick and Alistair Macfarlane have received Maundy Gifts from the Queen.

Each year, at the Royal Maundy Service, the Queen recognises and gives thanks for the work done by countless people for the wellbeing of their neighbours; work that has often been taken for granted or hidden. The service this year was to have taken place in Westminster Abbey on 1 April. However, due to current Covid restrictions, the service was unable to go ahead, and the gift was accompanied by a personal letter from The Queen instead.

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony, inspired by the Bible. On the night he was betrayed Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and commanded them to ‘Love one another’. By the thirteenth century, the Royal Family took part in similar ceremonies on Maundy Thursday. Henry IV started a new Maundy Thursday tradition of giving the same number of gifts as his age. For example, when he was forty he gave forty gifts. Charles II started giving out coins and the tradition of giving coins has remained.

The Maundy Gift comprises a collection of specially minted silver coins.

Shelia Wicks with her Maundy Gift

Shelia Wicks lives in Walsgrave, Coventry. Before lockdown Shelia had been a volunteer at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire for 45 years, latterly as a Lay Chaplaincy Volunteer. She has worshipped at St Mary’s, Walsgrave, for 68 years. Sheila has served as Churchwarden as well as a PCC member for many years and still serves as St Mary’s Electoral Roll Officer.

Shelia says;

“It was an amazing surprise to receive a letter from Buckingham Palace and feel very humbled and honoured to receive the Maundy Money and a letter from the Queen.”

Canon Margaret Sedgwick with her Maundy Gift

Canon Margaret Sedgwick is a Lay Canon of Coventry Cathedral as well as a Cathedral Lay Reader. Margaret has been a member of the Cathedral community since 1974 and has been a member of the Cathedral Council. Additionally, Margaret served as Chapter Clerk from 2000 – 2006. Margaret is something of an institution in the diocese having served on a number of key diocesan committees. Prior to her retirement in 1992, Margaret was Deputy Head of The Blue Coat Church of England School in Coventry, where she had a distinguished career from 1977.

Margaret says;

“I remember the Queen coming to distribute the Maundy Money in Coventry in 1995 but never expected to become a recipient myself. It has been a privilege to serve the Diocese and Cathedral.”

Alistair Macfarlane with his Maundy Gift

Alistair had previously received a Campaign Service Medal for his service in the Royal Air Force in South Arabia during the 1960s. This Maundy Gift was given in recognition of his service to the local community over many more years.

He is a regular volunteer of the local Foodbank and the Seniors’ Lunch, an active member of St Margaret’s Church and the chair of the Whitnash Twinning Association. He is well known and much liked in the community, and he acts as an informal taxi service for several older people who might otherwise be housebound or unable to get out and about. His community mindedness has shown itself consistently for many years.

Alistair said:

“Receiving the Maundy Gift is a great honour, and my family and I are absolutely delighted. I love helping people, and I can’t believe that I’ve received this great honour for doing something that I enjoy so much”

More information about the tradition of Maundy Money can be found here - www.royal.uk/royal-maundy-service


First published on: 31st March 2021