Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Royal invite takes pensioner off island for first time

A Manx pensioner who has never left the Isle of Man will travel to London later in the year to receive Maundy money from Queen Elizabeth II.

75-year-old Dorothy Boyde from Kirk Michael was nominated after years of looking after her local church.

"I was awe struck really until I'd read the letter through. It has taken a while to sink in," she said.

Forty island residents will receive purses from the Queen on Maundy Thursday at Westminster Abbey in April.

It is the first time a large group of Island residents have been invited to the ceremony in 300 years.

Cake baking

Dorothy grew up on a farm in the north of the island and has been a warden at Kirk Michael church for the last 19 years.

She is renowned for her cake baking skills, and has provided catering for almost every church occasion during the last decade.

Image caption The Queen will celebrate her 85th birthday by giving the Maundy alms to 85 people

When asked why she thought she had been nominated she replied: "I have no idea why this has happened.

"I've been involved with the church for thirty years. I open and close the church everyday, do the flowers, the cleaning, the cooking and polish the brass.

"I suppose its just because I've been here for a long time," she added.

Dorothy will be among 85 recipients who will receive the Queen's Maundy alms on 21 April, Her Majesty's 85th birthday.

But for her it will be the first time she has ever left the island.

'Unsung heroes'

"When I read the letter I thought I can't do that. I'm a back room kind of person."

"My little world is here in Kirk Michael. I've never been off the island, by choice. I've just never wanted to go," she explained.

Dorothy is taking her closest friend with her to London.

Image caption Manx residents will be attending along with people from the Anglican Diocese of Europe, based in Gibraltar

"This is really something special that has got me to go. I wouldn't go for anything else. It's a big adventure!"

Reverend Canon Malcolm Convery, at Kirk Michael Church, says it is a chance to recognise the "unsung heroes" of the Manx community.

"Dorothy's been nominated, not just because of her service as a church warden, but also for helping in the community. She deserves recognition for that," he said.

From 1699 the Maundy money was distributed by a royal representative but it became customary in the 1930s for the reigning monarch to distribute the coins.

Dorothy says she will put the coins in the China cabinet when she gets back.

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