King Charles III will carry out the ancient ritual of handing out the specially minted Maundy money coins for the first time as monarch, honouring 74 men and 74 women from across the country in recognition of their services to church and community.

Former Salisbury mayor John Walsh is the only individual from Wiltshire to receive the award. 

He was one of two people from the Diocese of Salisbury nominated by the Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Reverend Steven Lake, the other being an ecumenical officer and leader of Dorchester Area Churches Ecology Group Val Potter of Dorchester.

The ceremony will take place on Thursday, April 6 at York Minster.

Val and John will be given coins to the value of the age of the monarch – so they will each receive 74 pence.

John Walsh was mayor of Salisbury for two years during Covid. During his time as city and county councillor and then mayor, he worked to support the people of Salisbury.

He also served as chairman of South Wilts Mencap and has continued to volunteer for them.

He said: “Our Cathedral, which in 2020 had just started celebrating its 800-year anniversary, had to rethink its whole presentation. It gave me great pleasure to appear online in support of the Cathedral and St Thomas’s, our civic church, with Old Sarum in the background, as part of the celebrations.”

John is now a churchwarden at St Lawrence in Stratford-sub-Castle.

All the recipients of the Maundy money will be gifted two purses each: one red and one white. The white purse will contain the silver Maundy coins.

Inside the red, there will be two commemorative coins that symbolize the sovereign's historic gift of food and clothing.

This year, the coins will celebrate the King's forthcoming 75th birthday as well as the 75th anniversary of the Windrush Generation.

The Bishop of Salisbury, the Right Reverend Stephen Lake, said: “It is always wonderful to nominate people for this honour. This year, King Charles’ first year as monarch, is particularly significant. Val and John have served their communities with such dedication – they are an inspiration.”