A photographer who has captured some of the greatest moments in athletics history is preparing for his next big event.

Mark Shearman, of Purley, was made an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for his services to sports photography.

Not many people can say they have been to an Olympics but Mr Shearman has notched-up 13 of them and seen some of the greatest athletes of our time in the process.

His first Olympics was in Tokyo in 1964 and he has not missed one since.

The former Tiffin Boys School student has always had a love for athletics and has taken part in five marathons, including the New York Marathon.

At 70-years-old, the photographer could be forgiven for wanting to take a break but he is already looking forward to covering more athletics meetings. 

Mr Shearman said he was surprised when he heard he had been put forward for an MBE.

He said: "It was fairly surprising but I am proud and delighted to be named in the New Year’s Honours list to receive an MBE from the Queen."

The Purley resident is the official photographer for UK Athletics, a position he has held since 1996. He is now moving into his 52nd year of sport photography and has many fond memories to look back on.

He said: "Tokyo was special as it was my first one, but as far as the atmosphere and the stadium is concerned, the London Olympics was far and above the best. There was never an empty seat.

"Seeing Seb Coe win in 1980, when he won gold in the 1500m after missing out on the 800m was a very special moment.

"But seeing Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis and Greg Rutherford get gold as well was also fantastic. It is a privilege to be able to experience these moments."

He added: "I have to admit I don’t really think about it when I am there taking the photos.

"But when you look back at the pictures you have taken you do realise you are in a privileged position.

"I work in the infield and you are right on top of the athletes. You get a perspective that the spectators don’t really get."