ROGER Gould has a forthcoming Royal appointment to attend at St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.
It’s not an invitation to the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at the historic site on May 19.
But retired chartered accountant Roger from Grasscroft is equally excited by his ‘summons’ from the Queen.
He will be taking part in a ceremony that can trace its roots back more than 700 years.
On March 29, Roger, 78, will be only one of 92 men and 92 women this year to receive Maundy money from Queen Elizabeth II as recognition for his service to the Christian and local communities.
A Methodist preacher for nearly half a century, treasurer of Oldham and Saddleworth Churches Together, and since 2001 involved with the Oldham Interfaith Forum, Roger received his nomination from the Bishop of Manchester, the RT Rev David Walker.
“It came out of the blue as far as I was concerned,” says Bolton-born Roger, who moved to Saddleworth in 1974 after starting work with Seton Healthcare.
“As I understand it, the Bishop is able to nominate five people and I think there is only one other person from Greater Manchester nominated, a non-stipendiary clergyman from Bolton.
“I have known the Bishop for quite a number of years so perhaps I have gained an advantage of being known to him,” laughed Roger, who will travel to the ceremony with his wife Cathy.
“We have not been to the Chapel before so we are going to spend a couple of days down there. It should be a pleasant experience.
“I had to send a note of things through to Buckingham Palace that the Queen might want to talk to you about, a briefing.
“I think it is most unlikely she talks to more than the odd one but you never know.”
“Roger added: “I regard being chosen to receive Royal Maundy as a privilege shared with Cathy, my wife, who has been the rock of our family life and supported me in everything I’ve done, in addition to a huge amount of voluntary service of her own.
“It is also shared with all those I have been involved with in a variety of voluntary capacities at Uppermill Methodist Church, in Churches Together in Oldham and Saddleworth, the Oldham Interfaith Forum, several other charities and beyond.”
Roger’s only minor regret will be missing the annual Good Friday church walks through Uppermill.
“It doesn’t happen very often but I think we can be forgiven this year.”
uu Locally, a historic ‘fair’ is held at Road’s End in Greenfield on Maundy Thursday to keep alive a tradition dating back more than 800 years.
The right to hold the event, which can be traced back to the Magna Carta of 1215, would be forfeited if at least one stall is not set up each year.
Stall holders, hosted by church and community groups, will again be standing at the junction of Chew Valley Road and Kinders Lane on March 29.