Maundy service honour for Ernie
A North Shields resident has spoken about being honoured by the Queen at the Royal Maundy Service.
Ernie Scott was among the 93 men and 93 women who were invited to attend the service, which happens each year on the Thursday before Easter Sunday, at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.
His companion for the day was Robert Helgert from Upper Bavaria, Germany.
Ernie, 78, was nominated by Rt Rev Christine Hardman, Bishop of Newcastle. He has been a member and chorister at St Peter’s Church, Balkwell, for 70 years and he is the church’s organist, a role he started 15 years ago.
In addition, he has spent 35 years producing Master Musicians recitals – with more than 1,000 performances across the North East and Scottish Borders, featuring about 500 performers.
During the Royal Maundy Service, Queen Elizabeth II distributes gifts according to the number of years she has lived. Those invited receive Maundy money in two small leather purses.
Ernie said: “We were greeted with welcoming smiles and greetings by the numerous attendants there, who seemed to have come from all parts of the Commonwealth.
“As we passed into St George’s Chapel to the sound of some magnificent organ voluntaries and took our seats, there was a surge of euphoria at the thought of the wonderful pageantry we were about to witness.
“The Chapel Royal Procession entered – led by the Military Knights of Windsor, resplendent in their Tudor uniforms, and followed by clergy and choir of the Chapel Royal.
“Finally, the Queen arrived at the North Door. She was presented with the traditional floral greeting and then processed around the chapel as we sang the first hymn.
“The distribution of the 186 sets of red and white purses containing the Maundy Money by her Majesty would seem a lengthy and formidable task, but it was accomplished with great precision and efficiency by her and her attendants.
“Suddenly it was my turn – the Queen smiling as I thanked her and bowed, with a feeling of pride at participating in an ceremony going back eight centuries.
“During the distribution ceremony, the choir sang some beautiful anthems, including the Coronation Anthem of Handel, Zadok the Priest, and then, after a hymn and prayers, the whole congregation joined in with the National Anthem.
“We were then transported to the State Banqueting Hall for a buffet lunch and a refreshing glass of wine, and a chance to fraternise with fellow recipients, including Mabel Bullock from Dudley, my fellow recipient from the Newcastle Diocese.
“Then it was back to reality with friends at a local hostelry and a chance to relax and show off my Maundy coins.
“Altogether, a memorable day that I will treasure for all time.”