Traditional Christmas Day gift-giving ceremony celebrates its 350th anniversary
PUBLISHED: 10:04 26 December 2018
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.”