Two Pendle people will be among nearly 180 from across the Diocese of Blackburn who will be presented to the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh when they visit Blackburn Cathedral on Maundy Thursday.
Every year, the monarch visits a cathedral or abbey to give out Maundy coins to people aged 70 and over on the day before Easter in recognition of their service to their community and church.
And on this year’s visit, Audrey Emmott, of Waidshouse Road, Nelson and Lois Howat, of Stone Edge Road, Barrowford, have been chosen to meet the monarch.
Mrs Emmott is a parishioner at St Philip’s Church, Nelson, where she has been a Mothers’ Union member for more than 50 years and a school governor.
Mrs Howat attends St Thomas’s Church, Barrowford, where she has been a church warden and is currently a verger and pastoral visitor, visiting those who are unable to attend the church.
Mrs Emmott said she was “totally overwhelmed” to receive the letter from Buckingham Palace inviting her to the ceremony.
She is allowed to take along a guest – but has left the decision as to who that will be to members of her family.
Mrs Howat will be accompanied by a neighbour on the day and said she could not believe it when she received the letter. “I had to read it about six times to take it in,” she said.
This year’s visit will see 88 men and 88 women from the diocese (in line with the Queen’s age this year) presented with the special coins.
The Dean of Blackburn, The Very Rev. Christopher Armstrong, said: “I am delighted the cathedral has been asked to host the Maundy Service this year.
“This is a huge privilege as well as a great responsibility on behalf of the bishop, the diocese and the county.”
The Bishop of Blackburn, the Rt Rev. Julian Henderson, who was appointed in October last year, added: “It will be wonderful in my first year in the diocese to be able to welcome the Queen to the cathedral.
“I hope we all count this occasion to be an honour and privilege for Blackburn and for Lancashire.”