CAR park attendant Joe Byrne had a rare day off last week to receive his MBE from the Queen.

The 56-year-old, from Ferryhill, received the accolade for his tireless work patrolling the car park of Durham's JobCentre.

He has not had one day off for sickness in 18 years, and his devotion to duty is one of the reasons for the award.

Mr Byrne was joined at Buckingham Palace by his wife Maureen and sister-in-law Pat.

Mrs Byrne said: "I was over the moon for Joe when we found out about this and was really excited when we went down to London."

Mr Byrne was back at work the next day, and does not intend to have any more time off.

"It was great going to London, but I love going to work everyday, and I really enjoy my job," he said.

Employment Service regional director Vincent Robinson said: "It is wonderful that his devotion to duty has been recognised at the highest level possible."