Two Leicestershire church stalwarts receive Maundy Money from Her Majesty The Queen

Every year, the Queen commemorates Maundy Thursday by offering special ‘Maundy money’ to pensioners who have been nominated by clergy and ministers in their diocese, in recognition of their service to the church and local community.

This year, two members of churches in the Diocese of Leicester have been honoured with Maundy Money. They are Diane McCarthy of Holy Trinity Church in Hinckley and Geoffrey Walker of St Andrew’s Church in Thringstone. In all, 95 men and 95 women have received the Maundy Gift from The Queen this week.

Given the current circumstances, the Royal Maundy Service did not go ahead this year. Instead, the Maundy money was blessed at the Royal Chapel, St Jame’s Palace, before being posted to the recipients, alongside a letter from The Queen which included this message: “I hope this Maundy Gift will remind you for years to come that your efforts have been truly appreciated.”

The Maundy money is given in two small leather purses, one red and one white. This year, the coins are specially created to commemorate Her Majesty’s 95th Birthday, and the 50th Decimal Day, with the second purse containing coins up to the value of the Sovereign’s age.

Diane and Geoffrey ware marking the occasion at their homes, respectively, in the diocese.

Diane’s story is one of gentleness, sadness and deep care. She married in her 20s to Dave, a local funeral director, and they had a daughter Sally. Very sadly, Dave died after they had been married for just two years. Since then she raised her daughter and has cared for her grandchildren – but also devoted herself to the service of others.

She trained a Reader, not because she was very confident or outgoing, but to help lead a service if no-one else could. She visits, cares, encourages and prays – to those in hospital and at home. She’s quiet but very gracious and faithful, despite facing loss and loneliness.

During the Pandemic, Diane has continued to show great care for those who are isolating, cleaning the church faithfully to allow a return to services, and also vacated her house so someone else could quarantine there for two weeks. She is an ongoing example of humble service in Jesus’ name.

“When I received the Maundy money, I shed a tear,” said Diane. “It is a real honour and it reminds me of King Jesus - who gives everything and who loves us, as we are.

“It’s always been in my heart to care for others, and I’ve always clung closely to God. I live to serve Him, and to share His love and though life has at times been a struggle, He has changed me and I’ve learnt so much - I realised a life with Him is far better.”

Geoffrey is a life-long servant of Christ, and turned 90 last year. A familiar face in his community, he organises fundraising events, including Thringstone’s Got Talent, and donates money from the sale of his books to various charities.

He recently shared memories of his life with a class of local primary school children over Zoom, and has enlisted their help in writing the next adventure in his children’s book series.   

Geoffrey currently has 350,000 followers on Instagram and uses the platform to talk about family and faith. His videos are wonderful - the stuff of everyday life - but done with huge grace and beauty.

Upon receiving the Royal Maundy Money, he said: “I was gobsmacked. I think it’s a great honour to be recognised in this very personal way. We work together and do what we can, and lead by God’s example. The honour is as much my wife Pauline’s, as mine.”

Talking about his presence on Instagram, Geoffrey said: “It started as a way to keep in touch with the wider family and let them know what we were doing, but we seem to have become Instagram grandparents to so many people, all over the world. I do hope the Queen is following me!

“People say we give so much, but they give us so much more in return with their goodwill and beautiful messages. I feel very humbled by that.

“I don’t find it hard to talk about my faith, and mine is a simple message of love, hope and happiness in the Lord.”

You can read more about the history of the Maundy Gift here.

First published on: 1st April 2021

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