A sportsman of the cloth has been given a prestigious position after being appointed Chaplain to the Queen.

Canon George Kovoor, of Worcester Cathedral said he was so surprised to hear the news that he had to sit down.

"It is a huge honour and a great privilege to be invited to this role and I look forward to fulfilling it to the best of my abilities," he said.

The announcement was made yesterday by Buckingham Palace.

Mr Kovoor is a former international yachtsman who competed for India in the Olympics and World Championships.

His sporting background also includes working as a chaplain at the Olympics and other international events.

Mr Kovoor originally came from the ancient Mar Thoma Church in India.

Within the Indian church, he has held the positions of National Youth Director, Dean of St Paul's Cathedral in Ambala and Principal Chaplain at St Stephen's Hospital in Delhi.

Since coming to Britain in 1990, he has headed the Derby Asian Christian Ministry Project and chaired the group Christian Action for Racial Justice.

He is currently Mission Education Director of the Church Mission Society and Principal of Crowther Hall, the Society's training college, based in Selly Oak, Birmingham.

In 2001, Mr Kovoor was appointed Canon of Worcester Cathedral because of his wide experience of the world church.