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Sudbury Christmas Day tradition celebrates 350th anniversary

PUBLISHED: 14:43 27 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:59 27 December 2018

Philip Stevens receives a voucher from Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres at the traditional Christmas Day Gifts ceremony 2018

Philip Stevens receives a voucher from Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres at the traditional Christmas Day Gifts ceremony 2018

Archant

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.”

Charity vice-chair 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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