A RUTHIN celebrity and founder of the town’s rotary club was treated to a surprise get together for his 100th birthday.

William John Pritchard - know in Ruthin as Bill Pritch - celebrated the momentous occasion with an unexpected visit from his grandchildren, and great-children, from Australia and New Zealand last Monday. Bill is known for his appearance on a BBC Wales documentary Cymru 1914-18 and on Radio Cymru show Post Cyntaf, in which he discussed the effects of losing his father to the war.

Bill was born on December 18 1917- three months after his father went missing in action in Northern France during World War One - at his father’s home in Penygroes near Caernarfon.

Bill followed in his father’s footsteps, being called up during World War Two to serve in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers as a Sergeant, where he was involved in organising transport for American troops heading to Normandy during the D Day landings in the New Forest.

After the war, Bill remained with the forces and was posted to Londonderry in Northern Ireland, where he met his wife-to-be Margaret at a nearby Presbyterian church, where she was serving afternoon tea to British troops.

Margaret and Bill were married at Trinity Church in Bangor, County Down, before Bill left the army in 1946 and returned to Ruthin.

He started his career as an accountant with Cyril Arnold, learning the trade on the job. He started a family with Margaret - who died a few years ago - and had son Glyn and daughter Sue.

Bill has since spent the rest of his life in Ruthin. Over the years, family man Bill helped found Ruthin Rotary club in 1957 and also donated his accountancy skills to the St John Ambulance charity, earning him the Order of St John.

Bill has four grandchildren - David, in Australia, John in New Zealand and Helen and Kate, as well as four great-grandchildren.

All were in attendance for Bill’s surprise party - held at he Llanrhaeadr Springs - which was also attended by cllr Jim Bryan, Mayor of Ruthin and cll Peter Scott, vice-chair of Denbighshire County Council.