Inverness churchgoers to attend royal ritual
TWO members of an Inverness church are preparing to take part in a centuries-old tradition observed by the royals at Easter.
William Simpson and Sheila Proudfoot, of Ness Bank Church, have been selected to receive specially-minted royal Maundy money from the Queen during a service at St George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on Thursday.
Afterwards, all the recipients – 93 men and 93 women to reflect her years – will have lunch in the castle.
The royal custom of giving money and gifts on the Christian holy day of Maundy Thursday dates back to the 13th century.
Today’s recipients are senior citizens chosen for the Christian service they have given to the church and the community.
Mr Simpson (81) and Mrs Proudfoot (75) believe they could be the first from the Highlands to take part.
“I have been in mild shock since November!” said Mr Simpson, a retired insurance manager of Lochy Road, Lochardil.
“It is one of those events you see on the TV over the years.”
He was ordained as an elder in the now closed West Parish Church in 1968 and joined Ness Bank in 1999 where his various roles include that of session clerk.
Mr Simpson, who will be accompanied by his eldest daughter, previously met the Queen aged 18 when he was part of a guard of honour at Lauriston Castle in Edinburgh.
Mrs Proudfoot was stunned to receive her letter.
“You don’t get many letters from Buckingham Palace!” said Mrs Proudfoot who will be accompanied by her husband, William.
“I feel a mix of being humbled and proud.”
Brought up in the Free Church, she joined Ness Bank in 1966.
She became a church elder in 2000 and six years ago, she became just the second woman to be appointed moderator of the Inverness Church of Scotland Presbytery
She is on the board of the Haven Appeal to develop a centre for children and young people with multiple and complex needs and has also been a member of the Children’s Panel.
The pair will be presented with two leather purses.
A white purse will contain Maundy money comprising specially-minted silver coins totalling the monarch’s age.
The tradition of the unique Maundy coins was started by Charles II in 1662.
They will also receive a red purse containing a £5 coin and a 50p coin.
Historically, the money was given to buy clothing and provisions.