Alan Titchmarsh paid a visit to Marwell Zoo for the formal presentation of its Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development.

Mr Titchmarsh attended in his capacity as deputy lieutenant of Hampshire. Presenting the award, he said: “You will be one of the last recipients of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which I think in a way, makes it that much more special.

“Over many years Marwell has demonstrated, quite clearly, its dedication to sustainability and to conservation – two aspects of our lives which have quite rightly been regarded as of prime importance in the current climate.

“The need to cherish and sustain all aspects of the natural world is something very close to my heart.

“The world begins at our front door and the first steps into it take us into the garden – the microcosm of nature that’s so often overlooked and underrated while we worry about the global picture.

“Success in nature conservation begins with the particular, rather than the general.

“It’s here that we can make a real and tangible difference, as Marwell knows through its conservation and sustainability initiatives. Those of you at Marwell know the rewards of playing a part in contributing to a vibrant future for our planet, our country, our county and the patch of it that Marwell occupies.”

The award, which was announced last year, was due to be presented in September but was postponed because of the period of mourning after the Queen’s death. Queen Elizabeth II gave Marwell the royal seal of approval in recognition of its achievements in biodiversity conservation, education and sustainability.

Marwell chief executive James Cretney said: “While we are all thrilled at receiving this award and the recognition it brings to Marwell’s conservation work, we were naturally delighted that someone so inspiring, with such a love and deep knowledge of nature such as Alan, was able to officially grant us the award.”