AN East Lancashire-born businessman has expressed his pride and delight in being knighted for services to charity and politics.

Sir Bill Thomas, the son of former Fisher More High School deputy head Jack and his wife Hetty, was brought up in River Street in Colne before going to Leeds University.

The 60-year-old worked for Electronic Data Systems for 25 years and ended his career as senior vice president of Hewlett Packard’s Enterprise Services.

Educated at Sacred Heart Primary School in in Colne and St Theodore's Comprehensive in Burnley, he now chairs Spirent Communications plc, Clarkson plc and Node4 Ltd.

Married to Julie with three children, he also chairs the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity and between 2010 and 2015 chaired the Labour Party's Small Business Task Force and its Independent Review of Defence Procurement.

Sir Bill, who now lives at Hopton Hall near Derby, was knighted in The Queen's New Year's Honours list.

He said: "I am delighted and proud but in all my work, in business, politics and academia as well as in charities, I've always been lucky to work in exceptional teams. This award reflects the quality of those I’ve worked with.”