101-year-old RAF veteran among four Hampshire volunteers recognized by The Queen

101-year-old RAF veteran among four Hampshire volunteers recognized by The Queen

A 101-year-old RAF veteran from Alresford was among four volunteers from Hampshire recognized by Her Majesty The Queen for their years of service to the Church and wider community. William “Sandy” Sanderson received a ceremonial coin from His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales representing Her Majesty The Queen at the Royal Maundy Service on Thursday.

Maundy Thursday commemorates the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and commanded them to ‘Love one another’. The Queen marks the date by giving out special commemorative coins called Maundy money, a tradition with its origins in medieval times. The money is distributed to people who have aided their local community or church in some significant way. In 2022, 96 men and 96 women were recognised, representing each year of The Queen’s life. This year, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall led the Royal Maundy Service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Four people from the Diocese of Winchester received these coins: William Sanderson (101) from Alresford, June Harris (91) and Derrick Norton (77) from Andover, and Veronica Picton from Tadley.

Having joined the Royal Airforce in 1941, William “Sandy” Sanderson spent the majority of the Second World War in West Africa, providing essential repairs to aircraft engines. He later worked as a maintenance engineer before joining a Christian missionary fellowship focused on making literature available throughout the world. During his time with the organization, Sandy has distributed Bibles and Christian books throughout the UK and as far away as Australia.

On receiving the award, William “Sandy” Sanderson said: “I am so happy to be receiving such an honour from Her Majesty The Queen. I have really enjoyed my work with the CLC and with Christ Church. Working with them feels like being part of a family, where people love you for just being you.”

The Rt Revd David Williams, Bishop of Basingstoke, said: “To see our hard-working and generous volunteers recognised by Her Majesty is such a blessing. Each recipient has shown how dedication to Jesus and love for God can inspire people to love everyone in the community. Their service to the community is so valuable, and I am grateful for their work helping others and sharing God’s love and message.”

June Harris received the award in recognition of her voluntary work over the last 19 years as Parish Secretary at St Mary’s Andover Parish Secretary. Previously, she had spent the majority of her career working for the Ministry of Defence in the Civil Service.

Having originally been a PE teacher, Derrick Norton turned to the Church by working as a District Evangelism Enabler at a Methodist church, then at the head office in Marylebone. Since then, he has served as part of the St Mary’s Andover Parochial Church Council alongside a number of pastoral roles. Most recently, he initiated a new course serving people in Andover who have been bereaved.

Veronica Picton worked as a nurse for the whole of her career, based at Basingstoke Hospital and in the community. Following the passing of her husband, who had served as Rector of Old Basing, Veronica moved to Tadley to become churchwarden, pastoral care advisor and verger at St Mary the Virgin, Silchester.