Wigan woman's joy at surprise royal honour
She has received approval from Buckingham Palace for her work helping others in the community.
Christine Keeley, from Ashton, was surprised but delighted to receive a letter from the Queen explaining she was a recipient of Maundy money.
The cash gifts are handed out on the Thursday before the Easter weekend every year and recognise unsung people who make huge contributions to their local area, inspired by the Christian story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.
And at 77 Christine is showing no sign of slowing down as she is in the process of setting up a signposting service for residents with problems or in need of a helping hand.
Her unstinting efforts over the years on behalf of other people were recognised by someone who nominated her to receive the Maundy money.
Christine, of Hodnet Drive, said: “I don’t know who it was who nominated me. The first I knew of it was a letter from Buckingham Palace which said I was going to receive the money.
“I was quite humbled because I didn’t think I had done enough to warrant it, but evidently someone felt I had. I’ve always been involved with signposting and I’ve been a volunteer for many years working around counselling and befriending. I’ve been involved with various organisations.
"I’m now going to be opening up my own signposting service. It will cover any area of need and people will be able to ring me up and I can direct them to the right place.
“It could be someone having a pregnancy crisis or having a baby while in dire need of different things. It could be issues with housing, money or whatever.
"I’m aspiring to get that started in the not-too-distant future.”
Public service was also part of Christine’s working life before she retired as she spent many years in employment at a doctors’ surgery rising to a manager’s role.
The Queen’s letter to Christine explaining the award of the gift says the money is “an expression of my personal thanks to you for all that you have done to enrich the life of your community”.
Sadly, due to the pandemic, the service in London could not be held in person this year.
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