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MBE honour for RSPCA Chief Inspector

RSPCA chief inspector Lee Hopgood is to be appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the Queen's birthday honours this year, for his outstanding services to animal welfare.

The announcement follows 14 years of work for the charity, and coincides with the publication today of the Queen's Birthday Honours List 2008.

"I am absolutely delighted to be awarded this honour by Her Majesty the Queen," said chief inspector Lee Hopgood. "I was speechless when I received the news, and for those that know me that's a feat in itself!"

Lee 40, chief inspector for Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire, headed up the RSPCA's regional ground response to last year's summer floods. He and his officers worked closely with the emergency services to rescue both needy animals and people, and to deliver fresh water to farmers, boarding kennels and small holdings cut off from the mains supply by the floods.

Nigel Yeo, RSPCA Director of Animal Welfare Operations, said: "This honour is a fitting recognition of Lee's unwavering commitment to preventing animal cruelty and neglect, however difficult the circumstances. Through his professionalism and devotion, Lee commands the respect of all around him, and everyone at the RSPCA is delighted that he is being awarded an MBE for his services to animal welfare. I pass on my personal thanks and congratulations."

Lee lives in Worcestershire with his dog Kheta - who was rescued four years ago by the RSPCA weighing just half that of an average two-year old Husky. Her previous owners were prosecuted by the charity for causing Kheta and two other Huskies to suffer, but Kheta has since made a full recovery.