WHEN grandmother Anne Riley marks her 75th birthday this month, she will be celebrating with the Queen.

The mother-of-three is one of 176 people chosen to receive Maundy Money from a monarch, in a ceremony dating back 800 years, which will this year take place at Blackburn Cathedral Anne, who lives in Roe Lee, Blackburn, and has six grandchildren, turns 75 on Maundy Thursday, April 17 when she joins fellow Maundy pensioners from across Lancashire to receive the coins.

She was nominated by the vicar of St Gabriel’s Church, the Rev Stephen Corbett, who kept it a secret from her.

She said: “It was a big shock, but it was obviously a very nice surprise. I am very excited about it and it is my birthday, too, so it is a double celebration.

“It was a lovely early present. I am really looking forward to it, but I am a bit nervous about meeting the Queen!”

Anne, who will be taking husband Jack to the ceremony, is a leader of the Mothers’ Union, and has been involved with the group for more than 40 years. It was her dedication to the organisation and the church which prompted the Rev Corbett to nominate her.

The royal party is due to arrive at Blackburn railway station at 10.45am, after which they will be driven slowly down the Boulevard and Church Street to the cathedral.

The town centre will have restrictions and traffic diversions in place from 10am.

During the private, ticketed event, 88 men and 88 women from the Diocese of Blackburn will be honoured by the Queen.

Following the service, Her Majesty and the Duke of Edinburgh will spend time with religious and civic dignitaries at Ewood Park.

The Royal Maundy can be traced back to the fourth century. It became the custom in the 13th century for members of the royal family to take part in Maundy ceremonies by distributing money and gifts.

Anne will join 74-year-old Alec Stuttard, another of the recipients, who missed out on the opportunity to be a chorister at the Queen’s Coronation in June 1953, but will finally meet Her Majesty, 61 years later.