Christopher James Laurence, 76, from Chippenham has never been short of recognition when it comes to his work defending animal welfare.

But he has described his recent achievement, of receiving an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, as the “icing on the cake.”

Mr Laurence, who already has an MBE and was awarded the Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal in 2002 told this newspaper: “I received a letter, and I went- I’ve had two of these- three really is being greedy.

“You don’t expect others once you have one. This really is the icing on the cake, but it’s very rich icing- I had no idea at all, these things come out of the blue.”

When he was awarded the QVRM, Mr Laurence and his wife decided that they would celebrate by visiting The Ritz, because he didn’t think that he would have another similar accomplishment.

“It’s hard to beat that,” he explained.

Mr Laurence is planning on marking the occasion with his family, and will be making a trip to Buckingham Palace to be given the award, but noted that sadly not everyone is able to celebrate with him.

He said: “It’s sad my parents are not around because they would have been very impressed. I’m sure they’re up there somewhere looking down.”

Mr Laurence has been heavily involved with the RSPCA throughout his career and supports many different groups which fight to protect animals on a daily basis.

READ MORE: Chippenham man made OBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours list

Reflecting on his work, and what inspires him to make a difference, Mr Laurence said: “Animal welfare has run my life since 1998 when I went to work for the RSPCA, and when you’re a vet in practice you’re doing a lot of good for that animal that’s standing in front of you.

“But when you go and do the sort of jobs I’ve done since retiring which affect rules and regulations, you’re affecting the lives of millions.

With the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Act 2022 now part of the UK law, recognising animals as sentient creatures with complex thoughts and emotions, this could be a step in the right direction for animal rights, but Mr Laurence believes there is still more to do.

He said: “The key thing is accepting that animals are sentient. They have feelings- likes and dislikes essentially the same as humans do.

“Just because they can’t verbalise it, it doesn’t mean that they don’t have them. Animals have personalities, they’re not machines.”