A Tameside man is delighted after receiving a 75th birthday card from Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, days after meeting her at the charity where he volunteers.
On Tuesday 3 May, George Hall, 75, from Mossley, attended an event called The Big Jubilee Lunch at Emmaus Mossley to celebrate the branch's 25th year of operation and to build excitement for the Queen's upcoming Platinum Jubilee. The Big Jubilee Lunch was a private event for volunteers and invited members of the community, who were then surprised with an appearance by the Duchess of Cornwall herself.
The Duchess joined the group for lunch and took a tour of the Emmaus Mossley shop, showing particular interest in the upcycled items for sale, such as bunting made by volunteers from recycled fabrics.
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Since 2006, the Duchess of Cornwall has been a patron of Emmaus, which is a homelessness charity that provides work, companionship and support to homeless and socially disadvantaged people. The social enterprise sells upcycled items such as furniture and arts and craft products, which the volunteers make from old clothes, textiles and donated materials.
George, who has been volunteering with Emmaus as a PAT tester for over three years, sat at a table with the Duchess during the lunch and enjoyed conversing with her.
The dad-of-four and grandad-of-seven said: "T here was a piece of tape around a chair, which meant that the Duchess of Cornwall was going to sit there and that was opposite me. I was a bit nervous, actually, because you never know what it's like to meet royalty.
"But she was absolutely wonderful. She was relaxed and talked to everybody about their involvement with Emmaus.
"When she turned and spoke to me, I told her that I would be turning 75 in a week. And she said, 'wow, that means you’re older than me, it's my 75th birthday in July!'
"Later, as she was leaving the Emmaus shop, she called out, 'G eorge, don’t forget, you're older than me and it’s your birthday first!'
"She was really special and she has a great sense of humour. It was amazing!"
A few days after the lunch event, George returned to the Emmaus shop and was stunned to discover a birthday card had arrived for him from Clarence House. The front of the card is a stunning watercolour painted by The Prince of Wales, while the message inside is handwritten by the Duchess of Cornwall.
He continued: " I was surprised when I opened the card. It’s so special and lovely.
"The painting by Prince Charles looks really lovely. My family was so shocked- my daughter heard someone say something about it and she told them, 'that was my dad!'
"It's brilliant- I am very thankful to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. The other volunteers and I will send a card to Camilla when it's her birthday and we're all going to sign it and write messages."
George also shared his favourite thing about volunteering at Emmaus Mossley, adding: "Everyone is so lovely and special- you can talk to them about anything and have a laugh with them. It's smashing."
Rachel Irving, retail assistant at Emmaus Mossley, said the birthday card for George was "extra special" after a very successful lunch event.
She said: "The Big Lunch was such an exciting day. We had 120 people celebrating, it was like an indoor street party.
"It was an honour to host the Duchess of Cornwall. The birthday card was a lovely surprise for George.
"He has a very important job in the shop- he tests all the electrical items before we can upcycle them, he does a fantastic job.
"It was brilliant to see the Duchess and George interacting and joking around. The Duchess is very easy to connect with and she spent a lot of time with our volunteers and companions, looking at the products that they have made from recycled materials.
"She even bought a Jubilee mug from our bric-a-brac section! We thought it was quite funny that she has a collection of Jubilee mugs.
"She also commented on how lovely the view was because you can see the hills from our shop. We want to say a huge thank you to our volunteers and companions and to the Duchess of Cornwall for helping us celebrate our 25th anniversary."
Find out more about Emmaus Mossley on their website here and visit their Facebook page here.
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