A book distributor who believes he has sold more than 20,000 copies of the Bible during his 30-year career has won an award.

Andrew Franks , who runs Bedford Books in Woodside Industrial Estate, Thornwood, near Epping, picked up a long service gong from the Christian Resources Together trade body.

He set up the Cornerstone Christian Bookshop in Finchley in 1981 and was one of the first faith book sellers to introduce electronic stock control.

He said: “I remember receiving hand-written invoices from publishers in the early days.

“I promoted my system to bookshops across the UK.”

He said sales were good despite the recession, with many of his customers coming from a growing number of churches with mainly African or Caribbean congregations.