RETIRED accountant Tony Cole has received both royal and international commendations marking his half century of service to Hereford Lions Club, part of the worldwide Lions International organisation.

Current club president, Jim Hamilton presented Tony, who joined Lions in 1968 and became the Hereford club president in 1974, with a special certificate signed by Sophie, the Countess of Wessex, Patron of Lions UK and a personal letter from Lions international president, Gudrun Yngvadottr of Iceland.

Tony created the Lions Club link to an annual youth international football tournament in Holland 43 years ago, taking four schoolboy teams to Vianen, a project which has continued ever since and for the last two years includes a girls' team.

He was also one of the founders of the Herefordshire Youth Football League.