MALSON Phillips has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for his work promoting the Shire horse in Gwent.

Mr Phillips, 76, from Blackwood, is the long-time chair of the South Wales Shire Horse Society.

The large British breed is often used for draught and show purposes – and Mr Phillips has ensured its continued prominence in South Wales.

He hosts an annual summer show in Abergavenny and gives talks on the breed, and its history, throughout the year.

He says he found out about the award after receiving an email on his tablet.

“I had a shock, obviously, that they deemed I was worthy of this award,” Mr Phillips said.

“I feel elated and it makes me think about what I have done over the years. When I think of the effort that I have put in over many, many years, I am pleased that someone thought it was worthwhile.

“It is a privilege to receive this honour and I would pay tribute to anyone who is doing the same work. There are many people who work beside me; we work as a team and I thank them as well.”

The BEM is awarded for a “hands-on” service to the local community.