An actor who grew up in Whitley Bay has been presented with his MBE.
Gordon Griffin received the award in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in June in honour of his services to audiobooks, where he has recorded nearly 800, and to charity.
And he received a surprise when he collected his MBE from Buckingham Palace.
Gordon said: “I’d been told the Queen was not doing any more investitures but she was the one who presented me with my award.”
Gordon and his family moved to Whitley Bay when he was six, and after attending schools in the town he left to join a drama school in the south in 1960.
His parents ran a popular newsagents in Monkseaton until his father’s death in 1975 and his mother ran a guest house in the heart of Whitley Bay until her death in 2001.
Speaking in June, Gordon said: “People have said to me ‘you’re the sort of person who should have one’ but I never believed them. When I first read the letter I just could not believe it. I even got my friend to read it out as well.
“When I began recording audiobooks it was looked down upon by other actors, so I am pleased not just for myself but for the industry that has come such a long way.”
Gordon’s other feats include speaking the first line on the first episode of Byker Grove and telling people to ‘mind the gap, please’ every day on the London Underground.
He added: “Living in Whitley Bay in the 50s was like one long holiday in itself.
“I have a huge association there and I think of it very fondly.”