Lillian has a date with the Queen

Shillbottle organist Lillian Hume.
Shillbottle organist Lillian Hume.

A CHURCH organist has been chosen to receive the Royal Maundy from the Queen in recognition of more than six decades’ service to her north Northumberland community.

Lillian Hume will meet the monarch at York Minster today for the traditional service, in which a gift of specially-minted silver coins will be handed to her in a purse.

Mrs Hume has served as churchwarden at St James’ parish church, Shilbottle, for more than 30 years, as a member of the church council for over 60 years and has been organist for 67 years, since her appointment in 1945.

She was nominated to receive the Royal Maundy by the Bishop of Newcastle, the Right Reverend Martin Wharton.

“I feel very honoured to be chosen,” said Mrs Hume. “It was a total surprise when the Bishop rang in November. I said, why me? And he said, why not? I feel very humble.”

The Bishop of Newcastle said: “Lillian’s is an outstanding record of service, dedication and faithfulness to the life and community of Shilbottle, expressed through the parish church.

“Lillian is not the sort of person to make a great deal of her achievements and her contribution to the life of the village, so I am delighted that she’s been selected to represent the Diocese of Newcastle at this year’s Royal Maundy.”

Born in Shilbottle, Mrs Hume’s father was a long-serving churchwarden at St James and she remembers going there from the age of about four.

“We’ve always been involved at St James’,” she added. “I feel I’m part of it.”

To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year, the 86 men and 86 women receiving the Royal Maundy include representatives of all the countries of the United Kingdom and all the dioceses of the Church of England.

The Queen will present Mrs Hume with a red purse containing a £5 coin, commemorating the Diamond Jubilee, and a 50p coin, and a white purse containing uniquely-minted Maundy Money.

This takes the form of silver one, two, three and four penny pieces, the sum of which equals the number of years the Monarch has years of age.

This year there will be 86 pence-worth distributed. All the coins are newly-minted this year.

Mrs Hume travelled to York with her family, and her daughter will be her companion at the service.