Christmas Day tradition goes on in Sudbury

Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres with the recipients of clothing vouchers as part of the town's centuries old Christmas Day tradition ANL-161230-114707001
Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres with the recipients of clothing vouchers as part of the town's centuries old Christmas Day tradition ANL-161230-114707001

An ancient ceremony which first took place three hundred and forty eight years ago continued in time-honoured tradition on Christmas Day.

This year gentlemen of Sudbury along with their friends and family members gathered at the town hall along with trustees of the Sudbury Municipal Charities to remember Nathanial King, a former mayor and alderman of Sudbury.

In his original bequest Mr King stipulated that a gift, originally a coat, should be provided to a number of deserving aged gentlemen on Christmas Day in the morning forever.

This year twenty four men received a voucher to the value of £45 exchangeable for clothing at Peddars or Winch & Blatch.

Chairman Geoffrey Challacombe commented that he was pleased to see so many applicants this year and hoped that the ceremony would continue to thrive into the future.

As was the custom Mr Challacombe read the entry from the minute book for Christmas Day one hundred years ago.

He reminded the gathering that Christmas 1916 was a difficult time following the dreadful loss of life at the battle of the Somme as well as losses nearer to home as a result of bombing in Sudbury by a Zeppelin airship.

The minute book recorded that twelve coats were provided to elderly gentlemen that year.

The vouchers were handed out to the recipients by the town mayor, Sue Ayres. Mince pies and drinks were enjoyed, while participants reminisced about past times in the town.

Clerk to the trustees, Adrian Walters, said it was a wonderful way to start Christmas Day.

“Everyone who attended enjoyed the informal ceremony which is something unique and special to Sudbury and therefore well worth continuing,” he said.