For more than a 25 years Maureen Ratcliffe has been affectionately known as ‘Mo in the Cupboard’ by punters at Haydock Park Racecourse.
But all that changed on Saturday when Maureen, who works as a cloakroom attendant at the park’s VIP suite, was invited to take centre stage.
Because when bookie Fred Done, a regular at the top table, discovered the 74-year-old was the park’s longest-serving employee, he arranged for her to join him as a guest of honour in the glitzy Park Suite.
Maureen was joined by her daughter Amanda Hughes and the race course’s general manager, Jason Fildes.
“Fred and his wife who like me is called Mo are my favourites,” she said. “I call him my toy boy because he’s a few years younger than me. I thought he just wanted a cuddle as usual but then he told me about joining all these VIPS for a slap up lunch.”
Maureen’s grandson, Alex, who works as a porter, stepped in cloakroom attendant while she was living the high life.
Betfred boss Fred said: “She’s a lovely lady who always greets everyone with a smile. She is absolutely dedicated to her work starting in bakery, doing a milk round, a cleaner and now this. It was nice to reward her and there wasn’t a dry eye in the room when she was announced as our special guest because everyone knows of kindly ‘Mo in the Cupboard’.”
Daughter Amanda added: “Mum was just so happy that Fred had been so kind. She’s always been dedicated, refusing to go home until everyone has got their coats back.”