AP?s ever-popular columnist Mike Maloney has collected his OBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

The former chief photographer for Mirror Group Newspapers was awarded the honour earlier this year for services to photojournalism.

After collecting the award, Mike ? who has visited Buckingham Palace many times during his career as a photographer ? said: ?This was the first time I wasn?t on the other side of the camera. It was something you never forget.?

Mike provides advice to AP readers through his weekly column and has more than 100 photography awards to his name.

He is well known for helping upcoming photographers achieve their goals and regularly tours the country delivering talks about his career as a press photographer.

The OBE is a dream come true for Mike, who was awarded the honour in this year?s New Year?s honours.

Mike first became interested in photography as a youngster when his father bought him a Kodak camera for his tenth birthday.

He freelanced for the Lincolnshire Echo and Lincolnshire Chronicle before moving to London in the early ?70s to work as a show-business photographer on the London Evening News.

Mike?s career subsequently took him all over the world, during which time he has photographed many famous people. His first big assignment was covering Noël Coward?s birthday party at The Savoy Hotel.

Mike said that after collecting the award he reminisced with the Queen about the royal yacht Britannia, a ship on which Mike spent more than three months touring with the Queen during the ?80s.

As well as putting together a weekly column, Mike organises The Maloney Challenge where he sets AP readers an assignment and critiques their pictures after the shoot.

To see how the latest group of readers got on ? and read Mike?s expert views and advice on their shots ? see our 28 May issue (on sale 24 May).

Picture credit: Robert Maloney