The manager of a training school for social care practitioners will be swapping the classroom for the grand surroundings of Buckingham Palace.
Ann Farr, who runs the Pendine Academy of Social Care in Wrexham, and her fiancé, William Serridge, have been invited to a garden party with Her Majesty the Queen.
Ann, 58, who lives in New Brighton, near Mold, was overjoyed when the invitation from the Lord Chamberlain dropped through her letterbox.
She was chosen in recognition of her services to social care.
The academy has expanded a great deal since Ann was appointed manager 10 years ago.
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 couldn’t believe her eyes when she opened the invitation.
She said: “It’s not something the postman or woman delivers every day and I was a bit shocked really. I’m so pleased.
“I get married to my fiancée, William Edward Serridge, in July and going to the Palace next week will be a great way to start the celebrations.
“We are going next Tuesday (June 5) and have to be at the Palace by 3pm for the garden party which begins at 4pm and goes on until 6pm. Her Majesty arrives at 4pm precisely.”
Ann has worked in social care for 38 years after starting out as a trainee care practitioner at a Deeside care home.
She said: “It was a dementia care home that I began work in and very quickly knew it was the career for me. I did my NVQs, as they were then, and eventually became a trainer and assessor.
“I was made head of the Pendine Academy of Social Care 10 years ago. I’ve seen so many changes and we now train more than 300 apprentices a year. Not just Pendine Park Care Organisation staff but apprentices from across North Wales and now St Helen’s too.
“The success of Pendine Park is down to the training we provide and that stems as a direct result from the vision of Mario and Gill Kreft.”
She hopes her trip to London and the Buckingham Palace garden party doesn’t end in disaster as her last trip to London did.
She said: “I’ve only actually been to London once before when I was 13. I played hockey for Manchester Girls and we reached a final which was played at the old Wembley Stadium.
“The only problem was this opponent kept barging into me and was pushing me all over the place. I eventually lost my temper and sadly the referee wasn’t best pleased and sent me off!
“I’m sure this trip, and going to Buckingham Palace, will be very different. If there is one thing I’m looking forward to its seeing the gardens. Apparently we will see gardens that aren’t on public view and I’m really looking forward to that.”
According to Mario Kreft MBE, Ann richly deserves her invitation.
He said: “Ann has given a great deal of her life to social care and put so much into making the Pendine Park Academy of Social Care the success it is.
“The number of apprentices we now train each year is staggering and I know Ann demands the best out of each and every learner. She also ensures the level of training and assessing of students is accurate and rigorous.
“I have no doubt that Pendine Park could not be as successful as it is without Ann’s input.”
“I congratulate her on her invitation and Gill and I wish her well for her forthcoming wedding. We hope she and William enjoy many special years together.”