Easter gift from the Queen

Mary Davidson of St Annes with her Royal Maundy invitation
Mary Davidson of St Annes with her Royal Maundy invitation
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A Fylde charity stalwart is to meet the Queen – more than 60 years on from catching a glimpse of the monarch in London on Coronation Day.

Mary Davidson is a former teacher and education examiner for Middle East Land Forces, who has lived in St Annes for the past 13 years.

A parishioner at St Thomas Church, she founded the popular coffee shop sessions there, and helps raise funds for the International Aid Trust through mobilising teams of blanket knitters, as well as contributing to the work of the Home-Start Fylde charity.

Mary, 82, is one of 88 women and 88 men chosen to meet The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the Royal Maundy ceremony at Blackburn Cathedral.

“I am so excited,“ she said.

“It was wonderful to be nominated and it is a delight to be chosen.

“I still recall the day in 1953 when I was so close to my finals at university, but made sure I saw The Queen on Oxford Street on Coronation Day.

“We shouted ‘there’s the Queen’ and she turned round and smiled. Now I will get to meet her, and I will be so proud.”

Also a Maundy Money recipient at today’s ceremony will be Lytham resident Doris Fell, 93, whose late husband Stanley was a vicar in Blackburn for many years.

Doris moved to Fylde from Cumbria three years ago, and her nomination has delighted both her and her fellow residents of Fosbrooke House in Clifton Drive.

“It is a great honour ,” said Doris.

“I have been involved in the church all my life, mainly supporting my husband, but I was very surprised to receive the invitation from Buckingham Palace.”

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which can be traced back to the fourth century, and has its origin in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday.

Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev Julian Henderson, said: “It will be wonderful in my first year in the diocese to be able to welcome Her Majesty The Queen to the Cathedral.

“Normally, people visit Her Majesty to receive honours, so it is symbolic that this is the only occasion that The Queen travels to make an award.

“I am delighted for all the recipients from across the county, including those from Lytham St Annes, and I am sure that it will be a wonderful experience for all those involved.”