A MAN from Denby Dale told of his deep honour after receiving Maundy money from the Queen.

Reginald Stone, 83, was among 158 pensioners in the traditional Easter Week ceremony, which dates back centuries.

The Queen looked relaxed and smiled broadly as she made her way around Wakefield Cathedral, giving the 79 men and 79 women two small purses each.

One, a white purse, contained 79p in Maundy coins, reflecting the Queen's age on her next birthday. The other, a red purse, contained two special commemorative coins.

Mr Stone said afterwards: "I'm very pleased and so honoured to have been involved. The Queen didn't say much but she did notice my Burma star. It was such a lovely occasion."

Selection for the Maundy ceremony is based on service to the church and the local community.

Another to be honoured was Lawrence Smith, of Huddersfield, who has been the organist at Moldgreen United Reformed Church for 62 years.

Mr Smith, who used to work at Hopkinsons' Birkby valve factory, was at the ceremony with his wife Joyce.

The Queen wore a cobalt blue formal dress with a matching hat. She was followed along the nave by Beefeaters in their full red regalia carrying the purses on gold platters.

The Duke of Edinburgh, wearing a formal morning suit, read one of the lessons during the 50-minute service, which finished with a blessing from the Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Stephen Platten.

The Maundy Service dates back to before the Middle Ages, with a continuous record dating from the reign of King Edward I.

As the Queen left the cathedral she was greeted with cheers from the thousands of people who had gathered in the precinct, five or six deep behind police barriers.

She was joined by the Duke of Edinburgh for a 20-minute walkabout during which she chatted with dozens of members of the public, including children waving Union flags. She then left the cathedral precinct in the royal Bentley.

West Yorkshire Police said seven people were arrested by officers policing the visit.

Two 17-year-old local youths were detained on suspicion of using threatening behaviour outside the cathedral as the Queen arrived, said a police spokeswoman. The others were arrested for offences, including possession of an offensive weapon and disorderly conduct.

ON a cold, grey morning, the Queen, dressed in a cobalt blue outfit, and with a radiant smile, brought a breath of spring to Wakefield.

She was taking part in the service of Royal Maundy. This service is an echo, rather than a re-enactment, of an event that took place on the night of the last supper when Jesus Christ, in a sign of humility, washed his disciples' feet.

Yesterday, in a tradition stretching back 800 years, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip were greeted by the Queen's Lord High Almoner, the former Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, now Bishop of Manchester, and the present Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Stephen Platten, carrying sweet smelling flowers and herbs, once believed to protect against plague.

Inside the cathedral as the choir of the Chapel Royal sang anthems, including Handel's spine-tingling Zadok The Priest, the Queen distributed specially- minted Maundy money and commemorative coins to 79 men and 79 women, one for each of her 79 years. They were pensioners aged from 70 to 97, chosen ecumenically for their service to the church and community.

The coins were in small red and white leather purses, believed to signify the red and white roses of Lancaster and York. Each tiny purse acknowledged a lifetime of service by each recipient.

After the service the Queen went walkabout, clearly enjoying the warm West Yorkshire welcome of hundreds of well-wishers.

"For the Queen this is more than a tradition, more than a pageant," said Bishop McCulloch.

"It's an act of humility to honour those who give service to church and community and to the Lord Jesus, who gave a new commandment - Love one another as I have loved you."