THE COUNTRY's longest-serving principal was among those awarded an OBE in the Queen's birthday honours.
Stephen Dowbiggin, principal of Capel Manor College in north London since 1984, was given the award after meeting a challenge set by the Prince of Wales.
Prince Charles, who has donated from his private funds to the agricultural college, challenged the principal to do more for the environment of all of London and not just the north when he visited in 2000.
The college has since opened sites at all four points of the compass in the capital, training people to look after London's open spaces.
Mr Dowbiggin said: "(The Prince) has been incredibly supportive. He gave us this challenge and we picked it up and ran with it."
He said he believed the honour also reflects Capel Manor's uniqueness as London's only agricultural college, boasting a 200-acre working farm and gardens which attract 100,000 visitors a year.
Honours also went to Ann Clynch, principal of Loreto Sixth Form College in Manchester, who was given a CBE. Her college has been rated one of the best in the country and last year won the Queen's Anniversary Prize, which recognises outstanding achievement in universities and colleges .
Clive Jones, chief executive of ITV news and chair of Skillset, the sector skills council for broadcast industries, also received a CBE.
OBEs went to Daniel Khan, principal of Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, Dawn Ward, principal of Forest of Dean College, Christopher Heaume, chief executive of the central London Connexions advice service and to Richard Webster, chair of governors at Gorseinon College of Further Education in south Wales.
Peter Saunders, vice-chair of governors at Mid-Kent College and Ian Thorington, director of 14 to 19 school partnerships and recruitment, Guildford College, received MBEs.