Ed Sheeran paid tribute to Eric Clapton after he presented him with his Songwriter of the Year gong at the Ivor Novello Awards in London.

The 27-year-old star - whose most recent album, '÷', featured hits such as 'Perfect' and 'Shape of You' - was presented with his award on Thursday (31.05.18) by the legendary British rocker, who Ed explained had inspired him to play the guitar.

Upon collecting his coveted gong, Ed said: ''The reason I'm playing guitar is because of this man behind me, so it's a real thrill to have him present this award to me.''

The chart-topping star also thanked his showbiz pal Stormzy, who collected the Album of the Year crown for his debut release 'Gang Signs & Prayer', as well as songwriter Steve Mac, who helped him to pen some of his best known tunes.

Ed - who also won the PRS for Music Most Performed Work prize for 'Shape of You' - shared: ''Shout out to Stormzy for winning his Album Award, well done.

''I also want to say thank you to Steve Mac who not only did I make 'Shape of You' with, but also 'Strip That Down' [Liam Payne] and other songs that didn't make it.

''He told me when we won earlier for 'Shape of You' that he's been coming here for 24 years and he's never won, this is first one.

'''Flying Without Wings' didn't get one, which I was really surprised about so this is for Steve Mac, thank you mate.''

Other big-name winners at the annual bash included Billy Ocean, who collected the International Achievement accolade.

The 68-year-old R&B singer has enjoyed a lengthy and successful career in the music business since releasing his eponymous debut album in 1976, but Billy was happy to concede that winning the gong at the Grosvenor House Hotel was among his most cherished moments.

Upon collecting his accolade, Billy shared: ''Today is a highlight for me. Every day is a highlight, just waking up and being alive is a highlight for me.''

Meanwhile, Billy Bragg received the PRS for Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music gong.

Billy, 60 - whose music is noted for its political themes - admitted it was humbling to have been ''recognised by your peers and fellow songwriters''.

He continued: ''I have a reputation for writing political songs but I feel I'm here today being recognised for my general songwriting, most of the songs I write are love songs. It's lovely just to be here today recognised by my fellow community of songwriters.''

Billy also admitted he's been lucky to have been able to pursue his passion throughout his professional life.

And Billy is eager to see more young people ''live off their creativity''.

He said: ''I'm very privileged to have been able to not have had to work for any other so and so for the last 35 years to make a living because of my songwriting.

''I want to see more young people be able to do that, to be able to live off their creativity, whether that's writing or music or making cartoons.''

Ivor Novellos 2018 winners list:

PRS for Music Most Performed Work: 'Shape of You' - Steve Mac, Johnny McDaid & Ed Sheeran

Best Original Film Score: 'Jackie' - Mica Levi

International Achievement: - Billy Ocean

Best Contemporary Song: 'Question Time' - Dave & Fraser T Smith

The Ivors Classical Music Award: Thea Musgrave

Best Original Video Game Score: 'Horizon Zero Dawn' - Joris De Man, Joe Henson & Alexis Smith

Best Song Musically & Lyrically: 'Magnificent (She Says)' - Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter & Pete Turner

PRS For Music Outstanding Contribution to British Music: Billy Bragg

Best Television Soundtrack: 'The Miniaturist' - Dan Jones

Album Award: Michael 'Stormzy' Omari - Gang Signs & Prayer

Songwriter of the Year: Ed Sheeran

The Ivor Inspiration Award: Shane MacGowan

Outstanding Song Collection: Cathy Dennis

PRS For Music Special International Award: Lionel Richie