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Royal Maundy money presented to community servants

Three people from the diocese will receive Maundy money at a special Royal Maundy service at Worcester Cathedral. The recipients have all been nominated for their service to church and community in a tradition which dates back to 600AD.

Catherine Hitchens

In her village of Fifield, Catherine serves as churchwarden, and frequently leads services when it is impossible for a clergyperson to lead. In that role she has worked with the rest of the Parochial Church Council to identify the necessary repairs for the church, raise funds and organise for them to be carried out. She is also a keen supporter of the village hall and has raised money for its repair and maintenance, recognising the importance of its facilities as a place where villagers can gather for a meal or other events. This autumn she is beginning a monthly group for children in the village, called Little Fishes.

As if that were not enough, Catherine also serves as the Lay-Chair of the Deanery Synod, which is the meeting of representatives of 30 Church of England parishes in the Chipping Norton area. She has a great passion for rural churches and is helping the whole deanery to recognise the benefits of reclaiming ancient agricultural festivals to call people together and celebrate our rural environment. As in all her roles, Catherine combines her love for community with terrific organisation and extraordinary energy.
Catherine is also involved in Local Government and is Fifield Parish Meeting chairman and a founder member of Oxfordshire Stronger Communities Alliance (OSCA).

Peter Cathcart

Peter has been part of Buckinghamshire scouts for more than 20 years, serving as its chairman for the past 15. He was part of Farnham Parish Council for 24 years and has been a Director of the Ickenham and District Society of Model Engineers' miniature steam railway since 1999. Peter spent five years training to become a Catholic priest, before changing course to study law. In fact he is still a practising solicitor, despite having earned his retirement! Seventy-two-year-old Peter has always been inspired by his faith, starting out as an altar boy. He is now chair of his local church parish council, a lay reader and Eucharist minister. 

Muriel Wigston

Muriel has a been a tireless stalwart of Chenies Baptist Church with a heart for young people.  She dedicated over 40 years to a successful after school Friday Club in Chenies Baptist Church. On the completion of this work, she began work with the elderly including driving people to hospital appointments, running a fortnightly community coffee break in the church building and a group a called 'Home Makers' enabling families of limited means to make the best of a low income situation. In addition to all this, for a number of years she organised holidays for the disabled , doing the catering , and organising hoists to enable wheelchair bound people to enjoy barge holidays. She now enjoys a slower pace of life, and has become a regular patron of the coffee break club she supported for so many years. Sadly, Muriel is unable to attend the service.

About Maundy money

The number of recipients is equal to the monarch’s age, and this year 75 men and 75 women have been chosen. Each recipient is gifted two small leather purses, one white holding coins to the value in pence of the Monarch’s age and one red holding a special £5 and a special 50p. Those who receive the money are nominated for their quiet and steadfast dedicated Christian service to our local communities and churches.

The tradition of Maundy money is one of the oldest of royal life dating back to at least 600AD, and in this country, the first record of the monarch doing so is in 1213. Now a symbolic ceremony, the tradition began with kings and queens giving money to those in need and washing the feet of their poorer subjects, as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples at the Last Supper. 

Early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, Her Majesty decided Maundy money should not just be distributed to the people of London, and so she travelled to various cathedrals or abbeys to give gifts to local people. 



Notes to Editor
For media enquiries and high-res photos, please contact Rebekah Sharrock on 07880 716761. 

About the Diocese of Oxford   
The Diocese of Oxford is the Church of England in the Thames Valley region of Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. There are over 800 churches in 626 parishes, the largest number of churches of any diocese in the Church of England. The diocese is also home to 285 schools and academies educating some 60,000 pupils.   

Page last updated: Thursday 28th March 2024 9:26 AM
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