IT’S not every day you present one of the world’s most powerful leaders with a scale model of a Great Western Railway train.

But that’s exactly what GWR man Paul Gentleman and wife Caroline did when they visited the White House.

The Old Town couple handed President Donald Trump a Hornby model of the new engine named after 9/11 hero Rick Rescorla.

Mr Trump said he planned to display the model train in the Oval Office – the famous room in the president’s Washington base.

Paul and Caroline were invited to the White House by Mr Rescorla’s widow, Susan, to watch Mr Trump posthumously award her husband with the Presidential Citizen’s Award, one of the highest commendations that can be given to a US civilian.

“Rick was originally from Hayle in Cornwall.

"But he went to America, fought in the Vietnam War and latterly was head of security for Morgan Stanley bank based in the South Tower of the World Trade Centre,” said Paul, 53.

Donald Trump is handed the model train by Paul Gentleman Picture: WHITE HOUSE

After a 1993 bomb attack on the renowned skyscrapers, Mr Rescorla drilled staff at the bank on what to do in an emergency – regularly taking them through evacuation drills.

When the planes struck on September 11, 2001, he managed to get more than 2,500 Morgan Stanley employees out of the falling building before heading back into towers himself. He died when the tower collapsed around him.

In April, GWR named one of their new Hitachi engines after the Cornish-born hero, unveiling it at a ceremony near Penzance attended by Mr Rescorla’s widow Susan.

At the time, she said: “To know Rick is being honoured in this way and is remembered with such fondness is great comfort. I know he would be so proud of this.”

Since the naming ceremony, Paul and Caroline had developed a close friendship with Susan Rescorla.

Paul Gentleman (right) and Caroline Black (left) present Donald Trump with the model GWR train named after Rick Rescorla Picture: WHITE HOUSE

So when Donald Trump announced he planned to present Mr Rescorla with the Presidential Citizen’s Award, Susan asked the Swindon couple if they would be there for the ceremony.

A week before the White House ceremony, Paul and Caroline learned they would be meeting the president himself.r

Paul presented him with a scale model of the GWR engine named after Mr Rescorla, a 00 gauge train made by Hornby.

“He thought it was stunning,” said Paul. “He said, ‘That’s absolutely brilliant, what a fantastic tribute to Rick.’