Garstang Pat's party at the palace

Pat Ascroft with her grandchildren on their recent challenge in Croatia for the Mencap charity
Pat Ascroft with her grandchildren on their recent challenge in Croatia for the Mencap charity
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Garstang grandma and intrepid explorer Pat Ascroft took on a very Royal mission in recent celebration of her charity efforts.

Pat was invited to Buckingham Palace for a special reception hosted by HRH the Countess of Wessex to celebrate charity Mencap’s 70th anniversary.

Pat has helped raise more than £40,000 for the charity through her various world wide challenges and presentations over 20 years of fundraising and said she was delighted to be invited to the evening champagne reception.

She said: “I was one of a handful of guests chosen to meet and talk with the countess.

“It was a very charming and down to earth encounter.

“She asked how my very recent trek had been in Croatia - I could truthfully say it was exciting but hard!”

It was just last month Pat travelled to the country for the Trek Croatia challenge in aid of Mencap alongside grandsons Tom and Will and grandaughter Harriet.

Will and Harriet being late arrivals to the trip, only letting it be known they would be joining the pair on the trek when they surprised Pat at the airport.

She added: “To take part in a Mencap challenge alongside my three grandchildren brought many mountain top moments.

“Accepting the invitation to London and recalling past achievements and hearing of exciting projects to come acknowledged the generosity of so many people.

"I am very appreciative of the interest shown in my way of supporting this very worthy cause.

“I was told more than £40,000 has been raised over the past 20 years - money given to me for Mencap by all the organisations and individuals who put money in my hand.”

The invite to Buckingham Palace was for those who have helped shape the charity ,which cares for those with learning disabilities, over the last 70 years.

There were trustees, patrons, celebrity ambassadors, employees of Mencap and others who have played a big part in helping the charity become a leading voice of learning disability.

The evening began with a champagne reception in the picture gallery before Pat and chosen guests were ushered to the music room alongside celebrity and family ambassadors for a personal meet and great with HRH The Countess of Wessex.