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he lad may have gotten used to his family throwing great big birthday parties for him…

But we reckon Anthony McDonald’s jaw dropped an inch or two when today’s celebrations kicked off.

Beyond the cake, the hugs, the pressies, the garden party and the cheers, there was the little matter of Greystones’ emergency services trundling up through Grattan Park – all sirens blazing – to wish the lad a larger-than-life Happy 40th.

Well, it isn’t really a Greystones party until the gardaí turn up.

This time, the gang came bearing gifts too, with the coast guards possibly winning the day with a letter from everyone’s favourite president, with Michael D. commenting, ‘As you mark this milestone birthday, I know you will be very much in the minds and thoughts of all those whose lives have been touched and enriched by your admirable courage and fortitude. That is something you can be very proud of indeed‘.

Darn tootin’.

For mum Gillian and siblings Yvonne, Lisa and Jade, making each birthday better than the last is always the challenge every July 17th. “Anthony is our world,” says Gillian. “He’s the best craic, a little cheeky at times, and he has a huge amount of love to give. Always smiling and never complaining, even though he has many reasons to…”

Physically and mentally disabled, with cerebral palsy, Anthony has defied the odds to be the happy camper that he is today. On September 14th, 1998, he survived a car crash in which five people died, the injuries sustained resulting in Anthony being wheelchair-bound ever since. Not that any of this seems to bother the lad.

“He lives life to the full,” says sister Yvonne. “Anthony loves a good party with his family, and they get bigger each year. We’re not quite sure how we’re going to top this year though, given the generosity of the Greystones fire service, the gardaí, the coast guards

“We’ll have to start saving now for one of those billionaire trips into space in 2022…”

Our full hi-res gallery – free to download – is right about here. Happy birthday, Anthony!