A man born and bred in Walthamstow has been awarded the British Empire Medal for services to the community.

John Davies received the prestigious prize in this year's Queens Honours list for his voluntary work over four decades for the Waltham Forest Talking Newspaper for the Blind.

Mr Davies, who was born partially blind, is one of only 18 recipients of this years award.

He said: “I just couldn’t believe it when I got the letter asking me if I would accept the medal.

“My first thought was that someone was having a wind up - but when I called the home office and they told me that it was actually happening I was shocked.

“I also thought how pleased my parents would have been if they were still alive.

“It is quite funny because I used to be against the Queen’s honour list because I thought they generally went to celebrities and such but actually at the investiture when I spoke with the other people receiving awards I was astonished by the amazing things they had done."

A touch of mystery hung over the award at first because the Home Office was not allowed to tell Mr Davies who nominated him, leaving the 72-year-old stumped.

The man responsible was Phil Richards, also 72.

He said: “John is a man who I have the utmost respect for as he always considers other people before himself.

“It was me who nominated John to the Cabinet office for the award, which he doesn't know, and I was very pleased when he asked me to accompany him to the investiture.

“Knowing John had been connected to the Talking Newspaper for over 40 years, always using public transport in all weathers specifically for the benefit of others was, in my opinion worthy of a nomination.”

Mr Davies worked for the civil service throughout his life and took charge of the Walthamstow Talking Newspaper for the Blind in 2002.

He was presented with the medal by the Queen’s representative, the Lord Lieutenant of London at a ceremony in the Tower of London on November 16.

A lifelong resident of Walthamstow, Mr Davies attended the presentation ceremony with two cousins and his friend Mr Richards.