Commodore Ian Gibb, 76, who captained cruise liners with the P&O fleet for 43 years and visited every part of the world except Antartica, has been made an MBE for voluntary service to maritime charities.

But this is not the only cause for celebration for Cdr Gibb, of Church Street, Great Bedwyn. He and his wife Anne have seen Alison, one of their two daughters, married. Their other daughter Fiona is a vet and married to a vet.

Commodore Gibb said he had no idea who nominated him for the honour but was nevertheless “delighted”.

He spent 43 years at sea with P&O and captained many of the P&O liners that became household names and over the years and entertained thousands of passengers at the captain’s table.

After retiring from P&O in 1996 as Commodore of its fleet he became an elder brother trustee of Trinity House, the charity which administers all the lighthouses and lightships around the coast of Britain.

Recently the Princess Royal joined him and her father Prince Philip on the corporation of Trinity House becoming its first female elder brother.

Commodore Gibb’s work with Trinity House took him to many of the lighthouses and lightships it looks after.

He took his first command with P&O when he was 38 when he became captain of the Sea Princess and his last ship was the Oriana cruise liner.

“I think I have visited virtually everywhere in the world except Antartica,” said Commodore Gibb who moved to Great Bedwyn with his wife 34 years ago because of the ease of getting to London, an hour away by train, or to Southampton, one hour away by car, to reach the ships he commanded.

Since retiring from P&O, Commodore Gibb has become a sought-after speaker talking about his sea-going experiences and giving all the money he raised -- so far more than £12,500-- to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.

Commodore Gibb was born and brought up in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and is the fifth generation of his family to have captained ships.

Another person honoured in the birthday list is Joanna Robertson, chairman of the Edington Priory Church working group, who has been made an MBE for services to the village community and for helping vulnerable and disadvantaged people in the Middle East. Ann Santry, the chief executive of Newbury-based Sovereign Housing, which manages 34,000 homes across the south and south west, has been made a CBE. She said she was thrilled with the award, which was testament to the Sovereign team's hard work.