A London man has made it onto the Queen’s birthday honours list for work with gay and lesbian choirs around the world.

Martin Brophy, of Muswell Hill, originally from St Albans, is to be awarded an MBE for services to music, as he promoted singing among the LGBT community.

The 59-year-old is the executive chairman of the charity Fruitvox, and a long-time member of the London Gay Men’s Chorus.

He said: “The first thing I thought when I received the letter for the prime minister is – what do people wear to these things?

“I didn’t really believe it and I thought it was a joke because it was a very plain letter but then I looked online and found out it was real.

“I didn’t start volunteering because I wanted to win an MBE I did it because I wanted to make a difference and winning it is just a bonus.”

Mr Brophy has volunteered for 20 years, and has taken part in events such as the Various Voices Festival in 2009, and the Big Gay Sing in Trafalgar Square, which brought together 65 international choirs as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

He will now attend Buckingham Palace, where he will be presented with a medal and a certificate from the Queen herself or Prince Charles.

He said: “I’m a little apprehensive because this is something that happens to other people and I don’t know anyone with an MBE so this is new to me.

“This honour validates the work I’m doing – it’s really nice to feel appreciated and by giving me the award it is society’s way of saying ‘we value what you do’.

“This is all very strange to me because when I was born being gay was illegal and now I’m getting an MBE so I can’t really believe all the changes that have happened in my lifetime.”