An Orpington volunteer who has trained young sea cadets for the last 30 years has been granted a prestigious citizen award.

Paul Townsend will be recognised in the Palace of Westminster with a British Citizen Award (BCA) for his efforts as commanding officer of City of London Sea Cadets, ensuring the continued training of around 30 cadets at any time on board London’s own battleship, HMS Belfast.

His role has been to instruct cadets in seamanship, navigation, engineering on board HMS Belfast and other units across north London, inspiring youngsters to follow careers in the maritime sector.

A spokesperson for British Citizen Award said: "Today, Paul’s unit has around 30 cadets from the age of 10 up to 18-years-old and during his career over 300 cadets have crossed HMS Belfast’s gangway.

"Paul has been an exemplary volunteer, bringing his skills and experience gained within the Royal Navy to the voluntary sector for the benefit of young people in the City of London."

The BCA recognises "community heroes" who may otherwise be overlooked, with many going on to receive a Queen's honour after their efforts are brought to light.

The Medal presentation will be hosted at the House of Lord’s on January 23 by TV’s Michael Underwood who, together with Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, is a patron of the British Citizen Award, which was established in 2015.