A VAT officer had double reason to celebrate this New Year after receiving an MBE.

Mahendra Gajjar, 59, of Edgware, was recognised in the New Year’s Honours list for his services to tax and duty fraud prevention as well as his fundraising efforts in aid of Sunflower Cancer Support.

Mr Gajjar has worked for HM Revenue and Customs for ten years but still finds time to volunteer for the Burnt Oak-based charity, which helps people suffering and recovering from cancer.

Speaking about his MBE he said: “I was surprised – it just came out of the blue. My wife rang to say I had an envelope from Downing Street and I didn’t believe her.

“I did manage to keep it to myself – I just tried to put it to the back of my mind.

“My family is overjoyed and happy that I have been honoured with the award."

Mr Gajjar’s friends organised a party to celebrate his MBE on New Year’s Eve.