Diocese of Carlisle

    Cumbrian pair honoured with Maundy money

    Latest News
    9 April 2024

    Two people from Cumbria have spoken of their shock at being nominated for Maundy money recognising decades of Christian service to their churches and community.

    Brian Davis and Joan White were among 75 men and 75 women - equal to the age of His Majesty King Charles III – to be presented with the money at Worcester Cathedral on Maundy Thursday.

    Her Majesty Queen Camilla presented the Maundy money as King Charles was unable to attend while he has treatment for cancer. He recorded a message that was played at the Cathedral in which he spoke of his "great sadness" at missing the service.

    Brian, aged 85, lives with his wife, Heather, in Troutbeck, between Keswick and Penrith. The couple retired to Cumbria in 2003 following careers in medicine. Brian initially specialised in researching lung diseases, later conducting research in America for 16 years through which drugs were developed to combat cystic fibrosis. He later worked for the UK government’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Body (MHRA). He is a member of St Kentigern’s church in Mungrisdale and has served as a churchwarden for 14 years. He is also a lay preacher and supports youth ministry, chairing a committee which runs a Network Youth Church café in Penrith as well as helping run Open The Book dramatized Bible stories in two schools close to where he lives, as well as at the Bishop Harvey Goodwin CE Primary in Carlisle.

    Brian said: “I still have no idea who nominated me to receive the Maundy money or indeed what they said about me. It was such an honour. I could not quite believe it.

    “It was particularly notable that the service was held in Worcester Cathedral where King John is buried, the monarch who first introduced the concept of Maundy money. There was something about the service which embodied the culture and history of this country and the importance of serving others.”

    Joan, aged 82, has served at St James Carlisle for nearly 50 years, initially cleaning the church and church centre and later helping with toddler groups, volunteering in the church office and helping as a member of the catering committee. She has served as a Church Verger since 1983, ensuring the building is open for weddings and funerals. She was joined in Worcester by her three sons Andrew, Mark and Stephen, having lost her husband, Reg, nearly two years ago.

    Joan, of Lowry Hill, said: “I got home one day after it had been pouring down with rain so I was soaking wet. I saw the mail but decided to dry off first. After reading the letter I at first thought my middle son was having a joke with me. Then after reading it again and again I realised it was real. I couldn’t believe it, really.

    “It was fascinating to be at the service; there was procession after procession. It was lovely to meet the Queen. I had to decide whether to bow or curtsy but thought if I tried to curtsy then I’d fall on top of her! All in all it was an amazing experience and the service seemed to go so quickly.

    “I asked that it be kept quiet at church because I didn’t want a fuss made but people have been very kind and said that I deserved it.”

    The tradition of the sovereign giving money dates from the thirteenth century. Each recipient is given two leather purses – one containing coinage worth £5.50 in lieu of food and clothing and the second contains silver Maundy coins, the same number of pence as the sovereign’s age.

    Maundy Thursday commemorates the day of the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles, with the word ‘Maundy’ coming from Christ’s command or ‘mandatum’ to love one another.

    The Acting Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Rev Rob Saner-Haigh, said: “I am thrilled that Brian and Joan had such a memorable time at Worcester Cathedral. It is wonderful that people who have given so much to their church and community continue to be honoured in this way.”


    Notes for editors

    For more information on Maundy Money visit http://www.royalmint.com/discover/uk-coins/maundy-money.

    For further information contact Dave Roberts, Diocesan Head of Communications, on 07469 153658 or at communications@carlislediocese.org.uk.