Family of church stalwart meets the Queen

MHBG-04-04-13 Corsby Maundy Money''Angela Gabb, Sue Boland, Frances Corsby holding a picture of her late husband Stephen and Peter Corsby -  who will going to collect maundy money.
MHBG-04-04-13 Corsby Maundy Money''Angela Gabb, Sue Boland, Frances Corsby holding a picture of her late husband Stephen and Peter Corsby - who will going to collect maundy money.

Last Thursday will live long in the memory of one Brackley woman after she received Maundy money from the Queen on behalf of her late father at a special ceremony at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford.

Stephen Corsby, who had served Church of England parishes, including Brackley, for a total of 66 years, died aged 85 in February following a battle with cancer.

But before he died Mr Corsby found out he had been chosen as a recipient of this year’s Maundy gifts and received an invitation to Her Majesty’s traditional Easter service and presentation in Oxford.

Mr Corsby had been a church warden at St Hugh’s in Banbury just before he died, and after a special call to Buckingham Palace from the church his wife Frances Corsby, 85, and her children, Sue Boland of Brackley, Pete Corsby of Blackpool and Angela Gabb of Birmingham were invited to meet the Queen in his stead.

Mrs Boland said the family was extremely honoured to have received the invitation.

“It was excellent, absolutely brilliant,” she said. “The Queen spoke to my mother, stopping to give her condolences on the loss of her husband.

“She asked mum if dad had known about the invitation and she said he did.

“The Queen looked absolutely fantastic. She’s got such a lovely face. When she was talking to mum it was as if there was nobody else around.

“We were on the end of the row and there was a space there, and we were saying ‘they’ve left a space for dad.’”

In 1965 Mr Corsby moved with his family to Banbury and worked for Midland Shires Farmers in Chipping Norton until he retired.

He was elected as a parish church councillor in 1947 and served three Church of England parishes in Northampton, Brackley and Banbury for more than six decades which included 18 years in the Deanery Synod, with nine years as Deanery Lay Chair.

Mrs Boland added: “Nobody would have a bad word to say about my dad. He was a pillar of strength throughout his life.

“He was always such a family man and he always wanted to make sure everybody else was treated fairly.”

The Royal Maundy is an ancient ceremony which has its origin in the commandment Christ gave after washing the feet of his disciples on the day before Good Friday.

The commandment, also known as a ‘mandatum’ from which the word Maundy is derived, is still recalled regularly by Christian churches throughout the world and the ceremony of washing the feet of the poor which was accompanied by the giving of gifts.