Veteran angler, angling journalist and broadcaster Sam Harris has been awarded an MBE for his services to the sport in the New Year’s Honours list.

He is the first sea angler to receiver the prestigious award and can’t wait to travel to Buckingham Palace to pick up his honour, which will be handed over by either the Queen or Prince Charles.

Sam, who celebrated his 82nd birthday last week, said he thought he was being ‘wound up’ when he first heard the news. He was informed six weeks ago and was sworn to secrecy until his presence on the list was revealed.

“I thought somebody was playing a joke on me, but I’m absolutely chuffed to bits to be recognised in this way,” Sam told local news. “It is all down to the whole of the North East angling circuit that I will pick up this honour, so I’m ever so grateful. From what I can gather there were quite a few nominations for me, and it is nice to be recognised in this way.”

Among those who wrote endorsements as part of Sam’s application, which was organised by his wife, was Gareth Purnell of top angling website

Said Gareth: “To be honest it was an honour and a pleasure to be asked to be involved. I’ve fished with Sam all over the world, from Kenya to Norway. He has always put himself out for the sport of sea angling in this country and in particular in the north east region; no-one deserves this award more. Well done Sam!”