A training boss from Flintshire was among hundreds of community heroes from across the UK as she mingled with royalty at a garden party in the regal surroundings of Buckingham Palace.
Ann Farr, who runs the Pendine Academy of Social Care in Wrexham, was honoured for her dedication to the social care sector for nearly four decades.
The event was hosted by Prince Charles, who looked dapper in a grey morning suit and top hat, accompanied by the Duchess of Cornwall, who was dressed in a powder blue coat and dress. Princess Anne was also there.
Other guests included the Kingdom Choir who wowed a global audience when they sang at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
Ann, 58, from New Brighton, near Mold, was accompanied by her fiancé, William Serridge.
She has been running the in-house training arm of the Pendine Park care organisation for 10 years.
They now provide training for 300 care practitioners every year, not just for staff from Pendine Park but also for other social care organisations.
Last year the academy moved to new 8,000 square foot premises on Wrexham Technology Park which also houses Pendine Park’s admin team.
It includes virtual training centre featuring totally realistic recreations of a residents’ lounge, bedroom and dining area, as well as a pop-up pharmacy, pub, ice cream parlour and even a hair and beauty salon.
Ann was overjoyed when the invitation dropped though her letterbox to attend the event designed to reward community leaders.
The trip to Buckingham Palace lived up to all expectations after she was invited to walk down an entrance corridor lined by Beefeaters.
She said: “It was a wonderful day and something we will always remember. William and I get married next month so this was the perfect way to enjoy an early celebration.
“It was amazing to see Prince Charles and Camilla. It’s not every day you get to be in their company especially in such a relaxed environment.
“The gardens were stunning with trees more than 200 years old that were planted in honour of King George. We sat enjoying afternoon tea and cakes while listening to some wonderful bands. It was really very special.”
She added: “It was also nice to meet so many people from other care industries such as those training guide and assistance dogs. There were also a lot of people present representing the armed forces.
“All in all it was a wonderful occasion and something to remember. It was an unforgettable day.”
Ann has worked in social care for 38 years after starting out as a care practitioner at a Deeside care home.
She said: “It was a dementia care home and I very quickly knew that this was the career for me. I did my NVQ’s, as they were then, and eventually progressed to become an assessor and trainer.
Pendine Park proprietors Mario and Gill Kreft were delighted that Ann and William had such a memorable day.
Mario said: “Ann has worked exceptionally hard to build and develop our Pendine Park Academy of Social Care. The fact it is so successful is down to her hard work and dedication.
“Gill and I are really pleased that Ann and William had such a lovely time at the Buckingham Palace garden party and of course we wish them well for the forthcoming wedding.”