Architect and TV presenter George Clarke is taking his place next to royalty with an honour for his services to Britain’s homes.
The Washington-born designer has become the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors’ youngest ever honorary member.
Just 200 people hold the position worldwide including the Prince of Wales and Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud, and he described his membership as an “amazing honour”.
The 39-year-old said: “It was quite a surprise to be recognised by the RICS. It has huge global reach and does a massive amount of work in China, India and the USA and they are quite a powerful body.
“I got it because for my passion for British homes and rectifying the housing crisis. The RICS has a huge role to play in buildings and how they can be improved. They have got as much to do with housing and building as architects have.”
The father-of-three, who grew up at Blackfell with his mother Anne, presents Channel 4 series Restoration Man and Amazing Spaces.
He trained with FaulknerBrowns architect firm in Newcastle and has also been a visiting lecturer at Newcastle University before his media career took off.
He still works on four or five major projects a year with his firm George Clarke + Partners and will appear on screens from Northumberland in a few weeks time as the Restoration Man show revisits Thrum Mill in Rothbury.
RICS praised his love of architecture, his role in shaping Government policy around empty housing, as well as his ability to inform and engage people at all levels with the vital role architecture in everyday life.
RICS President Michael Newey, who presented Mr Clarke with his honorary membership, said: “There can be few people in the UK who are as recognisable and influential as George when it comes to architecture and the built environment. George is passionate about the way architecture can transform everyday lives and aims to make architecture both popular and accessible.
“This passion and focus aligns so closely with the aims and goals of RICS, which looks to promote the very best practices in land, property and construction.
“George is one of the most highly sought-after individuals in our profession, and we hope he will continue to be an ambassador for RICS.”
Just months ago Mr Clarke spoke out about how the Government was failing to listen to his advice on the empty homes crisis developing in Britain.
He said political leaders now have tackling empty homes firmly on their agenda and more houses than ever before are being brought back into use.