Cookstown woman Louisa McKee is celebrating becoming a nonagenarian on the same day as the nation celebrates Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.
A big party was thrown for the former civil servant in Magherafelt Manor Care Home where Louisa - or Louie as she is called by family - has been resident for the past few years.
Born and brought up in Union Street, Cookstown, Louie had the privilege of meeting the Queen in person at Buckingham Palace ten years ago.
“She was a very nice woman,” said Louie who sat at the same table as the Queen along with her brother Ivor who accompanied her to London in the absence of her husband, Joseph, who passed away 12 years ago.
Magherafelt Manor Care Home at Pound Road was decorated for today’s special birthday party which featured a piper as well as singing and dancing.
Among the callers’ at the home was the Rev William McCrea, former MP for Mid Ulster and South Antrim, who was ‘trained’ by Louie when he began his working life as a civil servant.
The Cookstown woman started work, aged just 16, at the Ministry of Health and Social Services office at the Fair Hill.
She had attended the local Public Elementary School and Technical College before opting for a career with the civil service.
“I enjoyed the work and meeting people,” she recalled.
She spent most of her career in Cookstown, apart from a few years in Antrim, right up until she retired at the age of 65.
The eldest of six children - two boys and four girls - her father Albert Forde ran a successful taxi business in the town for many years.
She met her and married Joseph McKee, whose father was the Railway Station Master in Cookstown.
Although the couple had no children of their own, Louie was a leader in the Girls’ Brigade at Molesworth Presbyterian Church and active within the church.
A special 90th birthday cake was cut this afternoon in honour of Louie as family joined with her in celebrating this significant milestone - shared with none other than the Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II.