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Home News Four Royal Maundy Money recipients are from Dorset and Wiltshire

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Four Royal Maundy Money recipients are from Dorset and Wiltshire

by Michael Ford last modified 16 Apr, 2019 05:36 PM

A Swyre sheep farmer and an 80 year old who has attended her Shillingstone Parish Church since birth, along with an 85 year old resident of Cathedral Close and a pensioner charity worker from Holt, have been nominated to receive Maundy Money from the Queen this Easter.

Four Royal Maundy Money recipients are from Dorset and Wiltshire

Pictured: Winifred Alford

Peter Yeates and Sylvia Stokes have been nominated by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Rt Revd Nicholas Holtam to be the Dorset recipients of this traditional Royal Easter gift, while Winifred Alford and George Kent have been nominated as the Wilshire recipients.

All four enjoy an extra-special day at Windsor Castle where they are to receive specially minted coins from Her Majesty The Queen at the annual Maundy service.

Every year, a number of men and women equal to the monarch’s age receive Maundy money from the Queen at a service on Maundy Thursday, so 93 men and 93 women have been invited to the service at St George’s Chapel, from across Britain.

Winifred Alford (pictured), a widower in the College of Matrons in the Cathedral Close in Salisbury, has contributed significantly towards the Diocese’s partnership with the Episcopal Church in Sudan and South Sudan.

Maundy Money Recipient Peter Yeates_

Peter Yeates, who served for many years as Churchwarden at the village Parish Church of Holy Trinity, Swyre was born to a farming family on the Jurassic Coast, still works daily on the farm he passed onto his eldest child.

Maundy Money Recipient Sylvia Stokes

Sylvia Stokes, a former Micrographic Technician, who engineers on Ascension Island supplied which much needed information during the Falklands War, has been the Sacristan at the Church of the Holy Rood, Shillingstone for the past 60 years.

Maundy Thursday Recipient George Kent

While George Kent boxes up all sorts of goods, second hand and new, to help the island of Dominica and stores the boxes around their own home until it is time to fill the container which goes out annually to the Caribbean island.

George, 85, is a weekly attender at St Katharine's church, Holt. He said, on receiving the news that he is going to meet The Queen:

"It was a lovely surprise to be nominated. I feel honoured.

"Our cleaning lady will drive me up to Windsor in the early morning. My solicitor son will come down from London to join me with my granddaughter. Angela."

The one disappointment for George is that his wife of 57 years is too ill to join him at Windsor:
“She has been wonderfully supportive of the charity work I have done.

"We worship at St Katharine’s in Holt. They are very caring for the needy and their children. I spot the newcomers and engage them in chat."

George is President of Children’s Homes in India Trust (CHIT) having previously been Founder/ Chairman for ten years. He came out of retirement to rescue it from closure.

He is also not the only member of his family to receive an honour from the Queen.

"We still actively support our daughter in Dominica where she is the Honorary Consul and picked up an MBE in the Birthday Honours for her actions following the hurricane."

George also sent out 7 tonnes of donated gifts that he had collected for those left homeless after the disaster and, when he isn’t collecting for charity, he also helps out with services at his local care home:

"I take the monthly communion by extension service in Fairlawn, the old People’s Home in Holt. I have a loud voice and I am not in a hurry. They like that," he said.

Back in 1979, George received an award for 'outstanding contribution to the International Year of the Child'.

Sylvia, from Shillingstone, who is going to Windsor with two friends from her Dorset village as her family live in the Shetland Islands said: "I am honoured to have been nominated to receive the Maundy Money and I am excited and very much looking forward to meeting the Queen."

Sylvia, who worked as a wedding photographer for a while, joined the Choir at Holy Rood at the age of nine and still sings alto with them. She has also been a member of the Church’s PCC for 50 years and served as a Churchwarden for two.

A keen supporter of the Girl Guide and Scout movements, she ran a Girl Guide company in the Village of Shillingstone and is the Vice Chair of the local over 50s Seniors Club and a member of the WI.

She added: "I am also honoured to be taking part in one of the most ancient of ceremonies of the church to commemorate mandatum that Jesus gave to his disciples at the last Supper."

Peter, who served for many years as church warden at Swyre until his retirement last year and is being accompanied to the Maundy service at the Castle by his daughter, said: "It is my pleasure and privilege to be a 2019 Maundy Recipient and it was a really nice surprise to hear that I had been nominated by the Bishop."

Peter, who gives the same dedication to the church as he did to his Dorset land in Swyre said:

"Holy Trinity Church, has been part of Yeates family life since my grandparents moved to the village to run Manor Farm in the 1930s; Two of my four grandchildren live in the village which means they are the fourth generation of our family to grow up in Swyre.

"As a small parish, which forms part of the benefice of Bride Valley churches, there is always much to do for those who are able. I have served in variety of roles from church warden to representative on the deanery synod.

"As well as farming, church and village life, I was a local National Trust Warden for twenty five years, am a judge for the National Vegetable Society, National Hedgelaying Association, a flower judge as well as being actively involved in the running of Melplash Agricultural Show.

"I am looking forward to going to Windsor, I have previously only been in the grounds of the Great Park for a National Trust course, so it will be really interesting to see inside the castle and to see the chapel."

A Peter said the idea of being a recipient has posed a few questions: "It really came as a complete surprise and shock – my first question was 'Why me?' - then, 'I'd love to know who nominated me!'"

Winifred Alford, a regular – almost daily – attender for worship at Salisbury Cathedral, moved to Salisbury from the Wiltshire Village of Donhead St Andrew in 2004, where she had been a Churchwarden and had fundraised tirelessly for the Diocese of Rokan in South Sudan, raising thousands of pounds to help victims of the civil war there.

Twice widowed, with three children and six grandchildren, she was also invited to the Sudanese Diocese by its Bishop Francis to see how the funds were being spent.

She is being taken to Windsor by a friend who lives nearby and she said of the news:

"It will be a simply wonderful experience.

"I felt thrilled and excited when I heard I had been nominated, but I also feel humbled about being a recipient."

A third order Franciscan and a frequent visitor to Hillfield Priory, Winifred went to South Africa in 2006 to work with the CMS helping victims of HIV and Aids. On her return she became a Trustee for the Future Bright Charity, that educates orphan children in Grahamstown SA.

A former Cathedral Guide, following two major operations she says she now spends most of her time "in prayer, contemplation and meditation", however, she still finds time to deliver food from the Cathedral to homeless charities in the city.

The giving of alms and the washing of feet on the Thursday of Holy Week are of great age. Royal Maundy can be traced back in England to the thirteenth century. The Service derives its name from the latin ‘mandatum’ meaning a commandment and its opening words are Jesus said: “I give you a new commandment: Love one another: As I have loved you, so you are to love one another.”

The gifts distributed to the recipients are symbolic.

The Bishop said of the recipients in his recommendation to The Queen:

"Peter Yeates has served for many years as church warden at Swyre until his retirement. He has been and continues to be a stalwart of the church. He is a farmer and gives the same dedication to the church as he did to his land. He is a loyal servant of his parish and his commitment and loyalty is to be commended.

"Sylvia Stokes has been a faithful attender at Holy Rood church Shillingstone from birth over 80 years ago. She has sung in the choir, been churchwarden and served as sacristan and as sexton.

"Winifred lives as a widower in the College of Matrons in the Cathedral Close in Salisbury. She is a regular – almost daily – attender at worship in the cathedral, takes a close interest in her neighbours in The College and has contributed significantly towards the diocese’s partnership with the Episcopal Church in Susan and South Sudan.

"George is a weekly attender at St Katharine's church, Holt. Each year he and his wife (who is now almost blind) box up all sorts of goods, second hand and new, to help the island of Dominica and store the boxes around their own home until it is time to fill the annual container which goes to the Caribbean island. George has also raised large sums of money for the island which has helped with post hurricane relief."

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