A SELF-confessed rowing obsessive has been named in the Queen's Birthday Honours after almost 60 years of dedication to the club he has helped grow dramatically.

Barry Hudson, who is the chairman of Durham Amateur Rowing Club (DARC), has been awarded an MBE for voluntary service to the community and to rowing.

He said: "I'm getting used to the idea of it now. I was fairly overwhelmed to start with. You don't do these things for rewards."

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Born in Sidegate, Durham, Mr Hudson says he regarded the banks of the River Wear as his playground and developed his passion for rowing after joining the all-male club in 1959.

When the 72-year-old from High Shincliffe, near Durham City, first joined the club it had just 35 members.

Now it boasts more than 400 members, having had several major expansions which Mr Hudson played a key part in.

In 1967 he helped build the club's first boathouse and in 1997 started working towards getting funding for a new clubhouse, which was officially opened in 2007.

He also started pilot scheme linking DARC to schools and in 2009 enabled disabled rowing to take place after procuring new stable rowing boats.

Mr Hudson, a retired chartered surveyor, who has two sons and two granddaughters, was the club's longest serving secretary – a post he held for 25 years.

He is now club chairman and is involved in the organisation of the annual Durham Regatta.

Mr Hudson added: "I've always worked with a lot of other people in the club. It's a reward for the whole rowing community in Durham and for DARC and the regatta. The rest of the team have played as much as a part as I have."