A DYNAMIC charity fundraising former Mayor of Dudley has spoken of his "shock" at being awarded the MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Labour councillor Steve Waltho, who has represented the St Thomas’s ward on Dudley Council for nearly 12 years, has been granted the Royal accolade for his services to local government and the community.

The 62-year-old gutsy grandfather-of-three, who lives in Kingswinford, has raised an estimated £250,000 for a host of charities over the years - £55,000 of which he raked in during his time as Mayor in 2015/16 together with wife Jayne, who accompanied him as Mayoress, for The Hope Centre in Halesowen, Stourbridge’s What? Centre, More Mascots Please, the Leukaemia Unit Appeal Fund at Russells Hall Hospital and The West Midlands Lupus Group.

But when he first heard he had been put forward for the Royal honour – he thought someone was pulling his leg.

Cllr Waltho, who also served as a councillor for Wordsley for eight years prior to getting elected in St Thomas’s, told the News: “It was a real shock. I’ve spent the last few years, particularly during my Mayoral year, observing other people and brilliant groups around the borough receiving awards. I’ve even written in support of others and I know how difficult the process is. You never really think it will happen to you.”

Cllr Waltho, who was shift team leader and secretary of the employees' charity fund at Oldbury chemical plant Solvay until he retired in 2016, has taken part in all manner of challenging charity events to help raise money for causes close to his heart - from sponsored walks and bike rides to testing mountain climbs to jumping out of an aeroplane to scaling Africa’s highest peak Kilimanjaro.

He’s also completed 14 marathons, including the London Marathon during his Mayoral year in 2016, and he’s now looking forward to a big charity climb of the UK’s highest peak Ben Nevis in Scotland which he’s getting set to undertake in August with an intrepid team from Dudley to mark the 20th anniversary of the death of peace campaigner Bert Bissell and the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.

The gung-ho adventurer, who will be summoned to Buckingham Palace within the next few months to receive his Royal honour, is even considering walking the 500 miles from Dudley to Fort William in Scotland ahead of the mountainous climb.