GRANDMOTHER Ann Brown has been chosen to receive Maundy money from the Queen in a centuries old tradition which rewards those who have made an outstanding contribution to their community.
She was picked by the Bishop of Portsmouth Christopher Foster to be one of 172 people across the country to receive the gift from Her Majesty on Maundy Thursday, April 5.
Recipients must be 70, which Mrs Brown has just turned.
She joined St Clare’s Church in Warren Park in 1996 following a freak accident in a supermarket which left her in a wheelchair.
Mrs Brown, of Oxenwood Green, Warren Park, became secretary to the Good Neighbours group, a member of the Diocesan Synod and member of the committee of Leigh Park Community Centre.
She credits her strong faith and healing prayers with enabling her to slowly begin walking again.
Mrs Brown added: ‘I’m absolutely elated and overjoyed.
‘I didn’t expect it and when Bishop Christopher rang to tell me it left me feeling very humble.
‘My overwhelming thought is that it’s such an honour and I can’t understand why it’s me.
‘I found out in December but I had to keep it secret until last month when the official letter came through from Buckingham Palace.
‘I was lost for words.’
The ceremony takes place at York Minster Cathedral and Mrs Brown will be joined by her husband of 33 years, Richard, and daughter Nicola Rhoods.
She has already planned her outfit and will wear a pink hat for the occasion.
Rev Jonathan Jeffery, vicar of Warren Park and Leigh Park, has worked closely with Mrs Brown.
He said: ‘She has a great sense of humour, she’s hard working but relaxed and is a people person.
‘She gets on their wave length and can engage with people well.
‘She has shown a real commitment to Warren Park and Leigh Park.’
Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.
In the 13th century the royal family carried out this practice on poor elderly people and it was Henry IV who introduced giving monetary gifts to the public relating to the monarch’s age.
Maundy money is now given by the monarch to people over 70 who have helped the community.
This year 86 men and 86 women will be handed two small leather string purses by the Queen, a red one and a white, with 86 pence in sterling silver coins produced by the Royal Mint.
Maundy comes from mandatum meaning to love one another.