Honorary degrees at Bristol
Press release issued: 15 July 2009
Bristol University is awarding honorary degrees to four local heroes, as part of its centenary celebrations, and the Very Reverend Robert Grimley, Dean of Bristol, at today’s [15 July] degree ceremonies in the Wills Memorial Building.
In January, the University teamed up with the Bristol Evening Post to find up to four local people who merit an honorary degree. Readers were asked to nominate individuals who make a significant contribution to their community, often without public recognition or reward. Of the 56 people nominated, four have been selected to receive an honorary Master of Arts degree at the 11.15 am ceremony. They are:
Caroline James is a nurse at the Barbara Russell Children's Unit at Frenchay Hospital. She is chair of the Frenchay After Burns (FAB) Children’s Club, a charity set up by nurses and run by volunteers that rehabilitates children and young people with burns by encouraging them to take part in confidence-building activities, such as abseiling, archery, climbing and sailing.
Sue McMullen is founder and chair of the Vassall Centre Trust, which provides accessible accommodation to 15 charities and charitable organisations in Bristol that are run by and employ people with disabilities.
Batook Pandya is a leading figure in race relations in Bristol and he has been closely involved with SARI (Support Against Racial Incidents) since it was established in 1988. SARI’s main aim is to combat racial intolerance and discrimination against any ethnic groups or individuals in Bristol.
John Wilkins is a former paratrooper who has raised £100,000 for Wallace and Gromit’s Grand Appeal though a variety of activities, including, at the age of 77, a 10,000-feet freefall parachute jump. Other fundraising stunts include bungy-jumping, abseiling, white-water rafting and zip-sliding. He continues to fundraise for the appeal.
The Very Reverend Robert Grimley, Dean of Bristol (1997 – 2009), will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Laws at the 2.30 pm ceremony. The orator for the ceremony is Mr John Bailey of the University’s School of Geographical Sciences.
An honorary degree is a major accolade, awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement and distinction in a field or activity consonant with the University’s mission.