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Traditional Christmas Day gift-giving ceremony celebrates its 350th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 10:04 26 December 2018

Philip Stevens receives a voucher from Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres at the traditional Christmas Day Gifts ceremony, which this year celebrates its 350th anniversary.

Philip Stevens receives a voucher from Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres at the traditional Christmas Day Gifts ceremony, which this year celebrates its 350th anniversary.

Archant

Custom stretches back to the will of Nathaniel King from 1668.

Residents from the Suffolk town of Sudbury became the latest recipients of a Christmas Day gift in a tradition that this year celebrates its 350th anniversary.

Sudbury Municipal Charities oversees a custom of handing out clothing vouchers to elderly gentlemen in the town – a ritual that stretches back to 1668 and the will of Nathaniel King, an ex-Alderman of Sudbury, who stipulated that coats should be given to “deserving, aged men... on Christmas Day forever”.

Today, men aged over 70 receive £45 clothing vouchers that can be redeemed at local stores Peddars and Winch & Blatch.

Around twenty applicants attended a short informal ceremony at the Town Hall this Christmas Day morning to receive their voucher from town Mayor Sue Ayres and enjoy a glass of sherry and a mince pie, as a gift from the charity.

Mrs Ayres said: “It’s a joy to come down and see all these people on Christmas Day. It’s so important to keep traditions like this going.”

Vice-chair of the charity, Samantha Hobson added: “I don’t know of any other town that has a tradition like this one. It’s unique and the kind of thing that makes Sudbury the special place it is.”

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