Isle of Wight fossil hunter William Quayle receiving his award.
A KEEN fossil hunter, who discovered fossilised shellfish new to science and built an important prehistoric collection, has received a prestigious award.
William Quayle, known as John, of Argyll Street, Ryde, started collecting fossils 40 years ago on the West Wight coastline and the Isle of Sheppey, Kent.
Mr Quayle, and his wife, Sylvia, also an avid fossil hunter, have donated the majority of their 4,000-piece collection to the Natural History Museum, London.
The collection is of the Eocene period, which dates back 30 million years.
The John and Sylvia Quayle Collection is one of the most important of its type in the world and nearly doubled the size of the museum’s crab and lobster collection.
On Wednesday, Mr Quayle was at the museum to receive the prestigious Marsh Award for Palaeontology for his significant contribution to the scientific field.
The event was organised by former Dinosaur Isle curator, Dr Martin Munns, the Natural History Museum’s head of palaeontological collections.
Mr Quayle, a retired Royal Navy artificer diver and a testing engineer at the Fawley Refinery, has written scientific papers on prehistoric shellfish and has also donated many of his finds to Dinosaur Isle.
He said: "I am surprised and very proud to receive this award.
"It gives you a good feeling when you break some clay open and find something that has not seen the light of day for 30-odd million years and is new to science."