Jim Deboo (90) has been picked out to represent Peterborough at the annual Royal Maundy Service on Thursday, 5th April, which will be held at York Minster.
The monarch will hand out leather purses – one red, one white – containing specially-minted coins to 86 men and 86 women in a symbolic act of alms-giving that stretches back more than 300 years.
Dr Deboo will take home a commemorative Diamond Jubilee coin and silver one, two, three and four penny pieces to the sum of 86 pence, for each year of The Queen’s life.
Church leaders for the Diocese of Peterborough nominated Dr Deboo to receive the Royal silver in recognition of his life-long contribution to the city, and most particularly to All Saints Church, in Park Road, where he has worshipped for decades.
The Bishop of Peterborough the Right Rev Donald Allister wished Dr Deboo well for his memorable day.
He said: “I am delighted that Dr Deboo has been chosen from this diocese to receive the Maundy Money.
“He has been associated with All Saints Church in Peterborough all his life, having sung in the choir and served on the Parochial Church Council.
“He has also been a great supporter of The King’s School, with its close associations with the cathedral, having been a pupil and later a governor at the school.”
Chosen pensioners will converge on York Minister for Royal Maundy from every diocese in the country, in a twist on the tradition to mark the Diamond Jubilee year.
The Queen usually distributes her ceremonial coins to residents associated with a single cathedral, which changes each year.
Dr Deboo will be joined on the day by his daughter and son-in-law, Rosie and John Sandall, who will help him travel to York from the Park House nursing home where he is being cared for.
His friends at All Saints Church will be the first to see the ceremonial coins, said Dr Deboo, who also hopes to share a blessing from the city with the Queen.
He said: “If I have the opportunity to speak with The Queen I will merely say that ‘the Peterborough Diocese is praying that you and His Royal Highness may be greatly blessed and supported during this special year’.
“I think she is a very kind lady and it’s a special year for her and it’s quite a big day for me.”
Not only has Dr Deboo led local groups including the Peterborough Civic Society, Peterborough Museum Society and the Westwood Musical Society, he founded a nationally-recognised school for apprentices in the early 1950s as Group Training Manager for the Baker Perkins Group.
The Queen also awarded an OBE to Dr Deboo at Buckingham Palace in 1984 for his services to engineering, before Loughborough University recognised his work with an honorary doctorate in technology.
Dr Deboo said this latest Royal summons had come as a complete surprise and a huge honour.
He said: “I took a call from the bishop’s office and they asked if I would be willing to represent Peterborough at the Maundy Service.
“I was very much excited by the news and Rosie has equipped me with some new finery.”
The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Beatrice of York will attend the Royal Maundy Service on 5th April.