The founder of a local family-run TV channel got a “shock” when he was recognised in the New Year Honours list.

Special honours are given to people who make outstanding contributions to their community and the country, with the New Year Honours acknowledging 1,227 people in the UK this year.

One such recipient was Noel Desmond Cronin, from Chipperfield, who started the popular vintage film and nostalgia channel in 2015 to preserve less well-known older films.

Watford Observer: Noel Cronin.Noel Cronin. (Image: Talking Pictures TV)

After being awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM), he told the Watford Observer of his “shock” on opening a letter with the news, adding “it doesn’t happen to people that often does it”.

The channel is run by Noel and his daughter Sarah Cronin-Stanley from an office in a West Hertfordshire garden.

Mr Cronin said: “It is a father and daughter set-up.

“We started about nine years ago now to show older pictures, predominantly British and older.”

Watford Observer:

Escapism, nostalgia, and a personal touch have been highlighted as reasons for the success of a channel often showing obscure black and white films other broadcasters were not interested in.

Despite the small operation, it has boasted almost a million unique daily viewers and celebrity fans such as Vic Reeves, Danny Baker, and Robert Powell.

Viewers regularly provide joyful feedback about the memories the channel has brought back and Noel said he is “happy to be a part of that”.

Watford Observer: Noel's book: 'Reel to Real, a Life in Film'Noel's book: 'Reel to Real, a Life in Film' (Image: Talking Pictures TV)

Some had even told him he deserves an award for preserving favourite films, but the BEM recipient did not imagine he would really end up on the honours list.

“You just smile and say ‘oh that’s nice’ but that’s as far as it was taken seriously,” the 76-year-old added.

“But, as a lad from North London with an Irish father... to think what my dad from Limerick would think of it…. I think he would be very proud really.

“But in your wildest dreams you don’t think you would one day get mentioned in the honours list.”

The family has lived in the area since to 1970s, with Noel moving from London to Middlesex and then Herts. He has been based out of Chipperfield since 1997.