Former Watford FC directors Jimmy and Vince Russo have been awarded the Italian equivalent of a knighthood.

The brothers were recommended to receive Cavaliere L’Onorificenza honours by Garston resident, Luciano Rapa, because of their work helping the Italian community in England.

Mr Rapa, an honorary consul for the Italian government, said he nominated them for the accolade as he felt it was important they were recognised for their community work.

The 63-year-old, whose consulate is in St James Road, West Watford, said he met the brothers through their work helping the Italian community in Hertfordshire.

He said: "I thought it was marvellous to have two young people like that - they had a very successful business. I got in contact with the Italian government and gave their names telling them what they used to do. After that the government understood they were two brothers and they were doing a good job honouring Italy in another country. Because of that they were given the cavaliere.

"I thought it was important they were recognised, so they can keep on doing this good work. They are fortunate as they are in this position where they can do something for the community."

Jimmy and Vince Russos’ parents originally came to this country from Sicily in 1952 and settled in Hertfordshire. Their father was a cucumber grower and the brothers followed him into the salad industry and started a business, Valley Grown Salads, together in 1982. It has since grown into a success company with a multi-million pound turnover.

In 2003 the brothers became investors in Watford FC and went on to hold various positions on the club's board. They Russos ran Watford FC for a spell in 2009 when Jimmy was appointed chairman and Vince vice-chairman.

After receiving his cavaliere, Jimmy Russo said: "We are delighted to have received this honour and I appreciate all the hard work Mr Rapa contributed in doing this for us."