A Rickmansworth man has been awarded a papal honour for his years of service to the Roman Catholic Church and his work in the community.

Andrew Rogers, of The Drive, became a Knight of St Gregory, which dates back to 1831 and recognises those who serve the Roman Catholic Church through their unusual labours and the excellent examples their set in their communities.

The 68-year-old said: "It’s one of the premier awards that a catholic lay person can be given. The new Pope Francis has cut back on a number of awards being given out and I’m one of the very fortunate people to receive this.

"It recognises my many years of voluntary effort and it’s not something I was expecting of that I went out of my way to seek.

"It’s absolutely fantastic and I’m really delighted."

The father-of-three said it was his work during the London 2012 Olympics Games which won him acclaim from the Catholic Church.

Mr Rogers was one of the organisers of More Than Gold, which was a group created to provide free accommodation for the parents of athletes from poor countries.

Mr Rogers said it was a "very successful" scheme, which attracted a lot of support.

Mr Rogers moved to Rickmansworth from Sligo, in Ireland, 33 years ago and lives with his wife, Brigid, whom he celebrated his 40th wedding anniversary with last year.

The retired banker has been a foundation governor of St Joan of Arc Catholic School, in High Street, for 27 years.

Mr Rogers said the award came as a complete shock and he still does not know who nominated him.

He said: "Somebody must have nominated me. I received a letter through the door but to this day I don’t know who recommended me for the award.

"I spent 65 years of my life and never had a single award. Then suddenly in the last three years I receive this and two others - I am a Knight of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St George (KMCO) and I became the first recipient of the President’s Distinguished Service Award (PDSA) for my lifetime of work on behalf of the Irish community abroad.

"But this one is very important to me."

On Saturday, July 12, Mr Rogers received his award, which was a certificate and medallion, at his home parish of Our Lady Help of Christians Roman Catholic Church, in Park Road.