OVER 100 people gathered in a Wrexham village on Friday to celebrate a historic birthday for a former Welsh Guard.

A surprise party at the Royal British Legion in Johnstown was thrown for Brian Jones to celebrate the community favourite turning 80 years old.

Mr Jones, originally from Cefn, moved to Penycae with his aunt several decades ago where he has lived ever since.

Formerly a despatch rider – a form of military messenger on a motorcycle – Mr Jones completed national service in his younger days.

It was in 1959 that the now retired pensioner met one of his oldest friends, John Haydn Ankers – from Penycae.

The pair met in Shrewsbury, where due to train issues, the two Welsh Guardsmen at the time were forced to walk all the way from the Shropshire town to Penycae.

Speaking to the Leader after the birthday celebration, Mr Ankers said of his good friend: “He so well liked all around the area.

“The Royal Legion place in Johnstown was packed on the night with all the seats taken up. It was a great night, and it was excellent for that many people to be there for him.

“We don’t often see Brian anymore, so it was really nice to see him there dancing with his granddaughters and having fun.

“He’s such a good bloke that is so easy to get along with, and he deserved that night.”