BLACKBURN Cathedral’s bells heralded the arrival of the Queen and Prince Philip for today’s Royal Maundy Service.

Led by Ringing Master Ray Hutchings, the chimes were rung by the cathedral band and ringers from local towers who often ring with the cathedral ringers for special events.

During the special service, the Queen distributed the Maundy money to 88 men and 88 women – one for each of her 88 years.

Each recipient received two purses, one red and one white.

This year, the Red Purse contains a £5 coin, commemorating the 300th anniv-ersary of Queen Anne's reign, and a 50p coin commemorating the 20th Commonwealth Games in Glasgow this summer.

Both coins have been newly minted this year.

Historically, the Red Purse contained an allowance of £3 for clothing, £1.50 in lieu of provisions and £1 for the redemption of the Sovereign's gown.

The White Purse contains uniquely minted Maundy Money.

This takes the form of one, two, three and four silver penny pieces, which equal the Monarch’s age in year.

This year, 88 pennies worth of pieces will be distributed.

After the service, experienced campanologists from all over the north west were taking part in a bell ringing epic, due to start at 3pm and lasting around three hours and 10 minutes.

A special peal of 5,000 changes – meaning the bells change their place in order each time they strike – will ring out a method, or piece of music, called the ‘Lincolnshire Surprise Royal’.