A SALISBURY saddler says he couldn’t believe he had been awarded the MBE for real until he saw it on this morning’s list - despite having been told of his honour more than a month ago.

Mark Romain, 56, who owns the Saddlery Training Centre in Telford Road, thinks he may be the first person in the industry to ever receive the honour.

He said: “I found out on May 10. I was absolutely thrilled, but I couldn’t completely believe it till I saw it this morning on the list.”

Mr Romain was awarded the MBE in recognition of his contribution to the industry. He is a former president of the Society of Master Saddlers and provides the only government apprenticeship scheme in the industry.

Mr Romain is an expert in the manufacture and repair of saddle, bridle and harness for the equine industry and he has won a number of awards for his own skills and work.

In 1986 he took on the role of training advisor to the Society of Master Saddlers, where he has contributed to the training of more than 200 apprentices and well over 1,500 saddlers from around the world.

He sat on the society’s executive committee since 1991. He played a major role in developing the NVQ for the saddlery industry, and revising the City & Guilds National Skill Assessment and Qualification Scheme and implementing the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme.

In 2000 he established The Saddlery Training Centre, to provide both apprentice training and courses and resulted in its reputation as an internationally revered training provider.

In 2011 he became one of the youngest recipients of a Fellowship of the Society of Master Saddlers. He is currently livery secretary, which sees him act as the primary point of liaison between the Court of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers and their Livery members.

An OBE has also been awarded to Amesbury’s Martin Colclough, head of sports recovery for Downton-based charity Help for Heroes.

The award was made for services to disability sport in the armed forces.