The longest serving member of the Trowbridge and District White Ensign Association was taken by surprise when he was honoured by the group ahead of his 90th birthday.

Pat Connor, of Whiterow Park, Trowbridge, has been a member of the Trowbridge branch for 72 years, joining when he was just 18.

The 89-year-old served as a medical assistant in the Royal Navy, mainly working in operating theatres in Australia and the Orkney Islands .

To mark his 90th birthday this month, as well as his long service, the association held a celebration for him at Lovemead House Conser- vative Club.

Mr Connor has also dedicated his time to raising money for Dorothy House Hospice Care, following the death of his wife from cancer in 2004, playing music at tea dances, clubs for the elderly and care homes.

Mr Connor, who has now raised £15,000 for the charity, said: “The celebration was a complete surprise. It was a really enjoyable evening and I couldn’t believe it when I saw how many people were there for me.

“We had a lovely meal and they also got me a birthday cake. I don’t go to as many meetings now I’m older, but I still value being a member and I’m very proud of my long service.”

The association, which became a registered charity in 1980, offers support to former sailors, marines, their families and widows.

Trowbridge councillor Graham Payne, secretary of the Trowbridge branch, said: “We wanted to give Pat an early birthday present in recognition of him being our longest serving member and to congratulate him for everything he has done.”