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Maundy Money: it's in the post

by Michael Ford last modified 02 Apr, 2021 12:43 AM

Covid-19 restrictions have again prevented our Maundy Money honourees from receiving their gift in person from Her Majesty The Queen.

Maundy Money: it's in the post

Photo of Jim Burg by Claire Vera

But our 4 dedicated servants of the Church in this Diocese will instead receive special letters from HM The Queen, enclosing the special silver coins.

Traditionally, from across the country, the same number of men and women as the Monarch's age - 95 this year - are invited to attend a ceremony on Maundy Thursday, which falls on 1st April this year. In the last few years before 2020, this mostly took place at St George's Chapel in Windsor.

The Maundy Money consists of silver pennies - amounting to 95p this year, again in line with the Monarch's age - and £5.50, which in the past was an allowance for clothing and provisions.

The service dates back to 600AD and these special coins have kept much the same form since 1670. This year's coins still bear the portrait of The Queen that was designed for her coronation in 1953.

Our Nominees this year are Jim Burg, June Kellaway, Jeremy York and Jean George.

Jim Burg (pictured above)

Jim Burg has lived in the Dorset village of Dewlish for some 50 years. He is the son of a German prisoner-of-war who stayed after the war because the people of Dewlish were so good to him. Until recently, Jim served as churchwarden and lay leader of worship for many years. He is a retired builder who has used his skills to care for the fabric not only of All Saints, Dewlish but also many other local, ancient village churches at very reasonable expense and to a very high standard. He is well known as a good supporter of the local community.

Jim says:

"I'm deeply honoured- I put that on the form when I replied to the Palace! It's an absolute honour, it really is.

"My faith didn't really get going till I was in my 30s, to be honest. Daphne took the children to church, and one day they said 'Why don't you come?' So I did, and it went from there. I've been a churchwarden for years and I'm a lay minister as well, taking services and so on. My faith's getting stronger and deeper, my wife would say the same. At one point, I had a huge growth in my stomach and the operation was not a pleasant experience, but my faith saw me through.

"Am I disappointed at not meeting the Queen? Yes of course, but it's one of those things, isn't it?

"I'll keep the money forever, and show it to village people and the church. Something to keep and treasure - an heirloom."

June Kellaway

Maundy Heroes June Kellaway Cheselbourne Churchwarden by Roger Butcher

June Kellaway has lived in Cheselbourne, near Dorchester, for all but the very first years of her life. She has been a great supporter of village life and has cared for St Martin’s Cheselbourne and the village community in many ways as churchwarden, cleaner and flower arranger.

June says:

"I am so taken aback by it - what a wonderful, wonderful thing. I'm absolutely thrilled and choked up. I had a letter come and I had to write a little paragraph about my life. Not sure how this happens, or who nominated me!

"I'm pleased with my life and how it's gone on, we had wonderful parents. I was one of 14 children. Our parents were very strict with us, and we had to do Sunday School by post! When I was old enough, I went to church at Junior School aged 7 or 8 - St Martin's, the same church I still go to in Cheselbourne. Caravan Mission for Village Children was a separate meeting on Sundays, but we were all so happy there. We had Sunday School of course, but this was a bit different - instead of all Scripture, they brought in other things. We'd sing a children's hymn like 'All things bright and beautiful', and we did outdoor sports as well. I wish I could remember it all, it was such a fascinating mixture of things to be involved with.

"I've been in this house 53 years this month, from the day I got married. We've had a wonderful time. I was churchwarden when Tony Monds was Rector, for 10 years - a wonderful chap!

"These days, I'm unable to get to church, because I'm classified as disabled, and I have to have someone with me if I go out of my gate. But Revd Roger Butcher brings me communion to my house, and that's wonderful. He goes through the whole service and the prayers. We need to pray for the whole world because of this Covid, and the NHS and the doctors and nurses who put their lives at risk!

She is realistic about this year's service not being possible, saying:

"I don't know how I'd do it in a wheelchair! But it would have been very nice to meet The Queen. Under the circumstances I raise my hat to The Queen and all she's done for this country. She's had a lot on her plate lately, what with her husband in hospital! The Duke's 100th birthday is on the same day as mine, but I shall be 82.

"It's something I shall treasure for the rest of my life. You can't spend Maundy Money! Couldn't do that. I'm just overcome at receiving it."

Jeremy York

Jeremy York is one of the ‘unseen faithful’ – utterly reliable and conscientious. He has been a churchwarden of St George’s Preshute, a school governor at Preshute Primary School and, until recently, Chair of the Marlborough Jubilee Centre, a registered charity run by volunteers, many of whom have learning disabilities.

The centre offers a hot meal at low price for those who might otherwise be alone or without a good meal, and also organises meals on wheels. As Jeremy walks into Marlborough, he picks up rubbish as he goes. He is widely recognised as a ‘good and honourable’ man offering services to a wide range of people and a good neighbour and friend to all.

Jeremy says:

"I was very puzzled as to who nominated me. I'm very touched- I see myself as a very run-of-the-mill person, just getting on with it, so it's very kind of them, it's a great honour.

"I was brought up in the Church of England - boarding school, strict adherence and so on. I've always been Church of England, although there was a time when I was attracted to the Catholic church, and I've had doubts, but my faith is very important to me. Recently, I've read 'Living in Love and Faith', which is heavy going, but I felt I learned a lot from the encounters in it. There are some very diverse individuals who deserve to be with respect and compassion, like the rest of us.

"I've also been in the Army, and my faith was important there too - periods of danger can focus your attention on faith!

"I'm sorry not to go up to London, but it's one of those things.

"It's something nice for the grandchildren. I've also never seen the Maundy Money, so I'm curious to find out what it looks like!"

Jean George

Maundy Heroes Jean George celebration music Tilshead

Jean George will be 90 in February 2021, and will have served as organist in the Wiltshire parish of Tilshead for 50 years this year. She plays the organ in Shrewton, Tilshead, Chitterne and Orcheston, and has always played for ‘Carols by Candlelight’ in St George’s Church Orcheston. Because this is a redundant church with no electricity, Jean borrows a cable and brings an electric keyboard. She taught music at St Thomas à Becket school in Tilshead and also taught at Avondale, Appleford and Dauntsey Primary. Jean was paid by the education authority for 20 minutes' music tuition for Tilshead, but she gave a full (half) day, and also played for the school’s concerts and nativity plays in St Thomas à Becket church, Tilshead. There are many generations of pupils who remember her with great fondness.

Jean says:

“It's a great honour isn't it? I would never have expected it. I feel like a fraud, because I just love doing music.

“I used to love to hear the organ play at Great Cheverell, and I joined the choir. The organist left and I started to play at the age of 17, and I still am – especially Shrewton, Tilshead and Chitterne, when we have a community service.

“One of the men of the choir used to do the ‘pointing’ to help me out. I went to Bournemouth and had lessons at St Peter’s Parkstone, then I met my husband and married and had children, then we went to Orcheston and again the organist was ill, and I was asked if I could do it.

“I’m now the organist at 3 churches because there's no-one else!

“I taught music in Wiltshire and Somerset in schools, piano, singing guitar and drums, and I retired at 83. I had 3 adult pupils last year, but since the lockdown I’ve had a break. I'm not sure if I want to go back now! A lifetime of music – it’s been fantastic.

“I still play when I can – it’s been 50 years at Tilshead. (That's a strange little organ, you know, when I started to play, and the pedals began on F and not the normal C. It took a few Sundays to get my head round it, but it's been quite fun - and now I have to get my head around the normal ones!)

“I’m not disappointed at not having a ceremony, because I'm quite a shy person and I don't like a big hoo-hah, but I think it’s wonderful.

“I shall put the money in my little glass case, and that will be it! I certainly won't be giving it to anyone or spending it.

“It will be with my husband's war medals, and I’ll leave it to my daughter in my will.”

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