Getting a Blue Peter badge is the dream of many youngsters but for some people it is not enough. Reporter JOHN HIGGINSON met one man who, three decades after winning the award for his bright ideas, has been recognised again for putting them into action in world-beating fashion ...

BLUE Peter has handed ship designer Stephen Payne a golden badge 32 years after he complained about its reporting of the sunken Queen Elizabeth.

On January 9, 1972, the BBC show featured a news item about Cunard-owned liner Queen Elizabeth on fire in Hong Kong harbour and ended the report saying there would never be a ship to rival her.

But Stephen Payne, then aged 11, had just learnt how to write letters of complaint from his Catford Boys' School English teacher Patricia Boutle.

He wrote a letter telling Blue Peter it should not be so sure there would not be another and included some of his own plans.

By reply he was sent a letter telling him not to be disappointed if it never happened, along with a Blue Peter badge.

Almost 32 years later, the Grove Park resident has designed the world's biggest liner, Queen Mary 2, which is 70,000 tonnes larger and 101ft longer than the Queen Elizabeth, built in 1940.

On December 6, Blue Peter visited Mr Payne in Saint Nazaire, western France, where Cunard-owned Queen Mary 2 is currently docked, and gave him a gold badge the highest award the show offers.

A Blue Peter spokesman said: "We receive thousands of letters from viewers every week telling us how inspired they are by the items they see on Blue Peter and it's amazing what some of those letters lead to.

"We are delighted Stephen has achieved his challenge and has created the Queen Mary 2."

On January 10, Mr Payne plans to take Miss Boutle, who now lives near Portsmouth, onboard the ship to show her his masterpeice.

He said: "It will be great to see Miss Boutle again and was lovely being honoured with the presentation of a gold Blue Peter badge."

The BBC programme will be aired on January 12, the day £500m QM2 will sail on her maiden voyage from Southampton to Florida.