Christmas Comes Early For Music 'Wizzard'

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Christmas Comes Early For Music 'Wizzard'

Date posted: 30 November 2007

The man behind one of the most memorable festive hits of all time – ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’, has an early Christmas present himself – news he is to receive an honorary degree from the University of Derby in the new year!

Roy Wood, of the band Wizzard, is known to millions around the globe for his musical talent and the 1973 Christmas classic, which reached number 4 in the charts.

He will become an Honorary Doctor of Music of the University of Derby recognising his work as an international performing musician and creative figure in British music and as a founder member of The Move, the Electric Light Orchestra, and Wizzard.

Roy is widely recognised as one of the most significant British musicians of post rock and roll popular music history, contributing to Glam Rock, Rock, Progressive Rock, and Psychedelia.

Roy is one of eight honorary award winners announced today by the University of Derby. Each will receive accolades at our Derby Awards Ceremonies in January for their outstanding work. These honorary awards are conferred in recognition of achievement by individuals of significant distinction.

The other honorary award winners of Derby’s Awards Ceremonies will be:

RICHARD BROWN – Honorary Doctor of University (HonDUniv)

Richard Brown is a resident of Derby and joined Eurostar as its Chief Executive in September 2002, with more than 25 years of experience in the rail industry. He was Chair of the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) in 2000 and 2001 during one of the most challenging periods for the UK rail industry.

JOHN STOBART – Honorary Doctor of Letters (HonDLitt)

John Stobart is one of the world’s pre-eminent maritime artists. A student of Derby College of Art in September 1946, he achieved high honours and a county scholarship to London's prestigious Royal Academy Schools. He established the Stobart Foundation, funded by the profits of his publishing business, for the purpose of awarding scholarships to qualified students who excel in outdoor on-site painting in oil on canvas.

DEREK LATHAM – Honorary Doctor of Professional Practice (HonPrD)

Derek Latham founded and has led Latham Architects since 1982. He promotes a philosophy of creative reuse of buildings; designing places holistically in response to their context. He is author of Creative Re-use of Industrial Buildings, which demonstrates how to put redundant properties back into beneficial use.

DR GRAHAM JOYCE – Honorary Master of Letters (HonMLitt)

Graham Joyce is an international award-winning novelist of 'fantastic' fiction. His work varies widely in setting and subject, dealing with the psychological, metaphysical and supernatural, with a special interest in human behaviour and sexuality.

POLLYANNA PICKERING – Honorary Master of the University (HonMUniv)

Pollyanna Pickering is one of Europe’s foremost wildlife artists and is well known for her conservation work. In 2001, she established the Pollyanna Pickering Foundation, which raises funds for conservation and disaster relief internationally.

TONY HAMS OBE – Honorary Doctor of the University (HonDUniv)

Tony Hams was Chair of the Peak District National Park Authority from 2002-2007 and will remain a board member until March 2008. He is Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund Committee for the East Midlands, and a board member of Natural England. In 2000, he gained an OBE for services to sustainable development.

SIR HOWARD NEWBY CBE – Honorary Doctor of University (HonDUniv)

Sir Howard Newby is Vice-Chancellor (Designate) of the University of Liverpool and former Chief Executive of HEFCE. A Derby lad and long-standing season ticket holder at Derby County, Sir Howard has published many books and articles on social change in rural England and was for eight years a Rural Development Commissioner, a member of the body responsible for economic and social regeneration in rural England.

Richard Brown, Chief Executive of Eurostar, which launched services on the new High Speed 1 rail line between the UK and the Continent earlier this month, said: “I was astonished and deeply delighted to be named an Honorary Doctor of the University of Derby. It never occurred to me that this sort of thing would happen.

“As a local resident for 16 years, and someone who works within the rail industry, I am of course aware of its importance to Derbyshire, so I can see an elegant sort of symmetry at work in my now being recognised within the county in this way.”

All eight honorary award winners will enjoy individual VIP receptions in the Mayor’s Parlour in Derby city centre, where they will then don mortar boards and gowns and collect their scrolls alongside about 2,200 students at the Awards Ceremonies, which take place at the Assembly Rooms in January.

This weekend, around 100 students at the University of Derby Buxton, will graduate at their Awards Ceremonies at the Devonshire Campus in the town. The Buxton Honorary Award winners, recently announced by the University are veteran mountaineer Doug Scott and businesswoman Emma Harrison.

Honorary award winners traditionally form a key centrepiece of many university graduation ceremonies across the UK.

At Derby, nominations are received from University staff and students and an Executive Panel chooses the recipients each year who are then invited to accept the award.

More details about the forthcoming Awards Ceremonies at both Buxton and Derby can be found at


For more information about this news release, contact Simon Butt, Press and PR Officer, on 01332 591891 or 07748 920023, or email:

This press release was written by Deputy Head of Press and PR Simon Redfern on 01332 591942.

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