A veteran modeller has been honoured by royalty after spending more than seven decades building more than 400 ships and 1,200 aeroplanes out of matchsticks.

Philip Warren, who has been making ships and planes out of matchsticks since 1948, was recognised at a ceremony yesterday by HRH The Duke of Gloucester at the Nothe Fort, Weymouth.

The Duke presented the 79-year-old with a glass trophy also made a presentation to recognise his 25 years’ service to the community displaying his famous matchstick fleet every year at the fort.

Mr Warren’s models are based on drawings, plans and photographs of the real ships and are flat bottomed so that when placed on a blue tablecloth they look as though they are in the sea.

Mr Warren, from Blandford, said: “Every little boy that has ever lived wants to make models.

“I started off building flying model aircraft which were made from balsa wood and tissue.

“However my main interest was in ships and I realised that using the same technique, I could build a warship.

“So I built a frame of matches and used the box to cover the framework and I’ve still got on show my first model made in 1948.”

He added: “Now, I just keep going and I like to think that every model I build is the best one I have ever made.

“As long as my eyes keep going and my fingers are flexible enough, I can’t imagine that I will ever stop doing it.

“I am very honoured indeed to meet HRH The Duke of Gloucester.”

Mr Warren attributed his enduring enthusiasm to the fact it is all just a hobby and has raised a lot of money for charity over the years.

“I’ve never taken commissions and I only exhibit for charity,” he added.

Louise Baker, general manager of the Nothe Fort, added: “We are very excited to celebrate Mr Warren’s work.

“He has done amazing work for the fort in bringing in visitors and engaging with them as well as bringing history to life.”

Mr Warren’s labour of love is on display at the Nothe Fort from today until July 1 and then again from August 10 to 27.

He is showcasing 217 of 463 1-300 scale miniatures, each crafted from matchsticks and wooden matchboxes.

The Duke also visited the Swanage Railway yesterday to present volunteers with an award.