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Partying with the Prince - Inspirational grandmother celebrates 70th birthday with Charles

PUBLISHED: 16:55 16 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:56 16 November 2018

Maureen Gilhooly celebrated her 70th birthday in August 2018 and had a second party with Prince Charles. Photo: Lucy Gilhooly

Maureen Gilhooly celebrated her 70th birthday in August 2018 and had a second party with Prince Charles. Photo: Lucy Gilhooly

Lucy Gilhooly

An inspirational charity worker from Fakenham celebrated her 70th birthday with Prince Charles at a special party.

Prince of Wales visiting Accra, Ghana. Charles celebrates his 70th birthday last week - a milestone moment for the heir to the throne. Picture: PA Wire/PA ImagesPrince of Wales visiting Accra, Ghana. Charles celebrates his 70th birthday last week - a milestone moment for the heir to the throne. Picture: PA Wire/PA Images

Maureen Gilhooly was one of 70 inspirational 70 year olds chosen to join the Prince at the party, organised by the Sun.

Readers were invited to nominate people making a difference to the lives of others and who, like Prince Charles, were born in 1948.

Mrs Gilhooly was nominated by her daughter, Lucy Gilhooly, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 2003.

As well as caring for her daughter and two year old grandson, Harry, Mrs Gilhooly continued her 30 year fund raising mission for children’s charity, Barnados.

When the call came through letting the grandmother of two know she had been chosen to join the Prince at his birthday party, Mrs Gilhooly said she was blown away.

She said: “I had no idea Lucy nominated me – I couldn’t believe it! I shouted “oh my goodness me!””

When the big day rolled around, Mrs Gilhooly said she was full of anticipation to meet the Prince at his Spencer House soiree.

The Barnados advocate and 69 other inspiring 70 year olds were treated to a champagne reception – juice for Mrs Gilhooly, who doesn’t drink – followed by an extravagant afternoon tea.

Assembled on the spiral staircase, the party-goers awaited the arrival of Prince Charles, greeting the royal with a group rendition of happy birthday.

For Mrs Gilhooly, the party highlight was meeting the prince and talking to him about her charity work.

She said: “Meeting him was a real honour. He shook my hand and asked me what brought me to the party. When I told him about my work for Barnados he said “my darling wife is Barnados’ patron”. It was a fantastic day.”

As well as making royal friends, the inspirational fund raiser said she met an array of incredible guests, who she described as “all different and wonderful”.

Moving forward, Mrs Gilhooly said she plans to continue raising money for Barnados and hopes to recruit more members to her small charity committee.

She added: “There is only six of us at the moment and I’m the youngest. We are looking for new blood and new ideas to help us.”

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