Sweet success and a day off at last as Keith enjoys day at the Palace

He runs England's oldest sweet shop and has gone for more than 20 years without a holiday, but Keith Tordoff consented to a day off yesterday, to collect an MBE from Prince Charles.

Owner of the Oldest Sweet Shop, Keith Tordoff, with his MBE at Buckingham Palace

The 62-year-old former police officer, who is also chairman of his local Chamber of Trade, bought the shop in Pateley Bridge from a woman whom, he said, kept “no books, no records and no stock”. It dates from 1827 and merits a place in the Guinness Book of Records.

Mr Tordoff, who received his honour at Buckingham Palace for services to business and the community, said he was “very excited, very emotional and very honoured”.

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He added: “We have a high street which has no empty shops, which in this climate is unique.”

Also at the investiture ceremony was the actor Hugh Laurie, who was awarded a CBE for services to drama.

Laurie is best known as the long-standing comedy partner of his old Cambridge Footlights friend Stephen Fry, and for appearing in the British comedy Blackadder and the US hospital drama, House.

His film appearances include The Man In The Iron Mask, Stuart Little and Peter’s Friends.

Laurie, who was born in Oxford, has also found success as a novelist and musician. His debut novel, The Gun Seller, was released in 1996 and he has had two blues albums in the top three of the UK charts.

He left the Palace having declined interviews.

However, Ireland’s rugby captain, Rory Best, spoke of his “immense pride” after being awarded an OBE, in the week he led his team to its first-ever win on home soil against the All Blacks.

He was joined at the Palace by his parents, who have both been decorated with MBEs, for services to agriculture and the public sector, respectively.

“I suppose they can’t really believe it. “It’s a lovely family celebration,” he said.