A West Wickham man who has served Battersea Dogs & Cats Home for nearly three decades has been honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2014.

Laurence Ackland Smith is the charity’s longest-serving volunteer having first got involved in 1986.

The 84-year-old travels for more than an hour every week to help out at the organisation, walking the dogs and being a companion to the many animals housed there.

Mr Ackland Smith, who was given a British Empire Medal, said: “I was absolutely amazed when I heard that I’d been awarded the BEM.

“I volunteer because I thoroughly enjoy it. We were unable to have dogs as my son was allergic to them, so volunteering with Battersea has let me indulge my love of dogs.

“As long as I have the strength to, I will carry on volunteering.”

Head of operations at Battersea, Carly Whyborn, said: “It is the selfless generosity of people like Laurence who allow us to care for 6,000 lost, abandoned and unwanted dogs every year.

“Without Laurence and over one thousand others volunteering like him, we would be unable to do what we do.

“I am so pleased that Laurence has been awarded the BEM for his tireless dedication to volunteering – he is a Battersea hero and entirely deserving of this honour.”

As well as his work with dogs and cats, Mr Ackland Smith also spends time at the Working Horse Trust, and regularly visits the Chelsea Pensioners in the Royal Hospital.