A former Bushey pupil, awarded an MBE for his service in the Royal Navy, has spoken to the Watford Observer about his experience.

Lieutenant Tony Jackson attended Bushey Meads School, in Coldharbour Lane, between 1973 and 1978 before leaving at the age of 16 to join the Navy.

He made the New Year Honours List for his service on the HMS Drake, overseeing the four-year-long Armada Project, and is awaiting a trip to Buckingham Palace to be presented the award.

Lieutenant Jackson said: “I am obviously delighted to have been both initially nominated for and then awarded the MBE, it is a huge privilege.

“To say I was gob smacked and choked would be a complete understatement.”

Lieutenant Jackson has come a long way from his days at Bushey Meads School after he left with few qualifications to pursue a career in the forces.

Lieutenant Jackson's work included the relocation of families within the service during refurbishments and, perhaps more importantly, providing help and comfort to families who had lost a loved one.

The post represented his hard work since joining the Royal Navy in 1978 as he worked up from the bottom ranks to receive the MBE for services to service personnel and services to Royal Navy families.

He said: “I joined the Royal Navy straight from school with minimal qualifications.

“I really wanted to be a chef but they were only recruiting catering accountants when I started, so that’s what I became.

“I have been in the Navy 32 years and all I have ever done is do my job to the best of my ability.

“It has given me so many opportunities during my service and I have not been afraid to take them.”

The date for his trip to the palace is yet to be confirmed but Lieutenant Jackson is keen to make sure the day is special for his family as well as himself.

He said: “Any member of the Royal Family could present me with the MBE and, though it will be nice to receive the medal, it will be more of an occasion for my family.

“They have seen how hard I've worked to get here.”

Since the Armada Project, Lieutenant Jackson has worked at the Britannia Royal Naval College training new service personnel.

He will also be returning to the school in September to give a talk to the students about his time in the forces.

He said: “I thought I could give something back to the school and give the children my experiences of being in the Royal Navy.

“To go back will be quite interesting.”