A GLOBE trotting aquaculturalist has become just the second European to scoop a prestigious award for his voluntary work around the world.

Michael New, 77, of Institute Road, Marlow has been given the World Aquaculture Society Exemplary Service Gold Medal, which has only been given to nine others in 40 years.

Aquaculture is the farming of freshwater and saltwater organisms such as finfish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants.

Mr New was presented with the gong at the World Aquaculture 2009 meeting in Veracruz, Mexico.

The announcement of the award on September 26 was a poignant moment for Mr New, as well as a surprise, coming six years to the day of the death of his wife.

He said: “It was an extraordinary coincidence. I made some people cry bringing it up because a lot of people remember her. It made me a bit choked myself.”

“It was a tremendous surprise to me when the announcement came and strange to to get a medal for something I enjoy doing so much.

“It's a fairly rare honour. I was really thrilled.”

Mr New's career as an aquaculturalist, has spanned across 40 countries, including India, Thailand and Pakistan, and included a role with the European Union.

He started his career in Ranks Hovis McDougall in High Wycombe.

Mr New is also the founder of the Marlow-based charity Aquaculture without Frontiers, supported by his daughter Sophie Varley and her neighbours in South Place, Marlow.