Sudbury men over 70 urged to continue festive tradition

PUBLISHED: 17:04 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 17:04 10 November 2017

Then Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres with some of the recipients of the Christmas gift of a coat from Sudbury Municipal Charities in 2016. The charity is looking for applicants for this year.

Then Sudbury mayor Sue Ayres with some of the recipients of the Christmas gift of a coat from Sudbury Municipal Charities in 2016. The charity is looking for applicants for this year.


A Sudbury charity is appealing for people to continue a festive tradition which dates back nearly 350 years amid fears it could disappear forever.

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.

He 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 – but this year, the charity has struggled to get people to come forward.

Successful applicants are invited to attend a short informal ceremony at the town hall on Christmas Day morning to receive their voucher and enjoy a glass of sherry and a mince pie, as a gift from the charity.

Sudbury Municipal Charities clerk Adrian Walters said: “We have had a low response this year and we are urging people who qualify to get in touch. We depend on people coming forward to keep this custom alive.”

“Not only will they receive a £45 clothing voucher, they will also be the latest recipients in a tradition that goes back to the mid-seventeenth century.”

To qualify, applicants must be men aged over 70 who live within the town boundaries of Sudbury.

Applicants should apply in writing by November 25 to the following address, stating their name, address and age: Sudbury Municipal Charities, Longstop Cottage, The Street, Lawshall. Bury St Edmunds, IP29 4QA. Or by email to:

Those who applied last year are not eligible to apply this time round.


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