University Announces Derby Honorary Award Winners

27 November 2009

Graduation day

Man Booker Prize winner Hilary Mantel CBE, TV presenter Simon Groom and former soccer star Roy McFarland are among the six honorary award winners the University of Derby has announced today as part of its annual Awards Ceremonies in Derby.

Each year, a selection of high achievers with links to Derbyshire are decorated with the academic honorary doctorates by the University, as more than 2,000 students celebrate alongside them by collecting their own degree awards.

The University last week announced that businessman Gerry Beetles and cricketer Geoff Miller have been named as the honorary award winners at the Buxton Awards Ceremony to take place next Saturday, December 5.

And the University today names the six honorary award winners for its Derby Awards Ceremonies on Friday, January 22 and Saturday, January 23 at the Assembly Rooms in Derby:

Christopher CharltonPeter GadsbySimon Groom
Hilary MantelRoy McFarlandMargaret Whittaker
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Christoper Charlton - Honorary Doctor of the University

Christopher Charlton is known for his work with the Arkwright Society as its former Director of Projects and in establishing Cromford Mill as part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Since the Society bought the Cromford Mill site from Derbyshire County Council in 1979 they have restored many of its Grade I listed buildings, providing employment and training to local people.

Peter Gadsby - Honorary Doctor of Business Administration

Peter Gadsby is well known throughout Derby for his association with Derby County Football Club and was responsible for the building of the Pride Park stadium and development of the whole Pride Park commercial area. He is undoubtedly one of the most successful businessmen and entrepreneurs in the county.

Simon Groom - Honorary Master of the University

Simon Groom is perhaps best known to the public as the co-presenter of Blue Peter, from 1978 to 1986, the much admired educational programme for younger people. But he is now equally well known for his high quality documentary programmes on fascinating and absorbing subjects ranging from steam locomotives to rodeo riding.

Hilary Mantel CBE - Honorary Doctor of Letters

A Derbyshire-born award winning novelist and significant essayist and reviewer for a wide range of journals both in Britain and America. Her first novel - Every Day is Mother's Day - was published in 1985 and was inspired in part by her own experiences as a social work assistant at a geriatric hospital. Her most recent novel - Wolf Hall - won the 2009 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. She was made a CBE in 2006. (Hilary's image below is courtesy of John Haynes).

Roy McFarland - Honorary Master of the University

Roy McFarland has lived in Derby for over 30 years, since joining Derby County in 1967. He made over 400 league appearances for Derby and earned 28 caps for England. He was a world class player and known as a gentleman of the game. His managerial career included Derby County for two seasons, Bolton Wanderers, Cambridge United, Torquay United and Chesterfield.

Margaret Whitaker - Honorary Master of the University

Founder and Chairman of Slimming World, Margaret is not only a hugely successful business woman but working with both the Derbyshire County Primary Care Trust and others in order to take the wellness agenda forward. She received an OBE in 2009 for services to the community in Derbyshire and to the field of weight management.

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