Alan Owen, who founded the charity for atomic test survivors, was inspired after his father James, from Cheltenham, took part in the nuclear testing on Christmas Island in 1962 when he was 21.

His father died from heart conditions at the age of 52 in 1994, but Mr Owen kept campaigning over the years for veterans to be honoured with a medal for their services.

He said: "It's great the government is starting to recognise the veterans." Downing Street said the honour commemorates contributions by members of the armed forces, scientists and local employees from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Kiribati.

Veterans who took part in the UK's nuclear testing programme will receive a new medal after years of campaigning. About 22,000 people will be eligible for the Nuclear Test Medal, introduced to mark 70 years since the first test.