Press Release

08 September 2014

Last week over 1,800 Canterbury Christ Church University students graduated in front of their families and friends in Canterbury Cathedral.

Lizzy Yarnold celebrates her Honorary Doctorate
Lizzy Yarnold celebrates her Honorary Doctorate

The university also conferred Honorary Doctorates upon five individuals who have accomplished distinction in their fields and gained national and international respect from their peers for their achievements.

The high profile and influential figures to become Honorary Doctors were: Olympic Gold medallist, Lizzy Yarnold; children’s television producer, Peter Firmin; Director of Learning and Public Affairs at the Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gillian Wolfe; President of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal, Sir John Mummery, and one of the world’s leading ceramic artists, Edmund de Waal.

Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, said: “We are delighted to be able to honour such a distinguished group of individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. We look forward to welcoming them to the University.

“All have achieved great distinction and excellence within their chosen careers, demonstrating determination and ambition to achieve personal goals and to positively influence many different sections of society.”

Elizabeth ‘Lizzy’ Yarnold recently won Great Britain’s first Gold medal at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi in the skeleton race. Joining the national squad in 2010, she had excelled winning her first official race in the Europa Cup in November 2010, the 2013/14 Skeleton World Cup shortly followed by the Gold medal at Sochi.

From Kent, Lizzy was a talented junior athlete in a range of sports and in 2008 she was introduced to skeleton by UK Sport’s Girls4Gold talent search scheme. At the 2014 Winter Olympics, Lizzy’s Gold was only the tenth gold medal ever achieved by British athletes in 90 years of Winter Olympics competitions. Most recently, Lizzy was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Peter Firmin
Peter Firmin

In a special year marking the 40th anniversary of the infamous children’s programme, ‘Bagpuss’, the University will honour legendary children’s producer Peter Firmin. Peter has left a significant legacy for generations of children and adults, primarily through children’s TV programmes and children’s fiction.

In partnership with Oliver Postgate, Peter trail-blazed a genre of children’s fiction, TV and animation which began in the late 1950s. Creating, designing, and producing, Peter and Oliver were responsible for many children’s classics such as ‘Ivor the Engine’, ‘The Saga of Noggin the Nog’, ‘The Clangers’ and ‘Bagpuss’ which was voted the nation’s favourite children’s programme in 1999. The majority of these animations were filmed in a barn in Blean, near Canterbury and in 2011 Peter was awarded the Freedom of Canterbury City.

Gillian Wolfe CBE, with Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Governing Body, Stephen Clark TD (left) and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran (right)
Gillian Wolfe CBE, with Pro-Chancellor and Chair of the Governing Body, Stephen Clark TD (left) and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran (lright)

Gillian Wolfe is the Director of Learning and Public Affairs at Dulwich Picture Gallery. She has been at Dulwich since 1984 when she was instrumental in setting-up the gallery’s Education Department. This education programme has become a national model of excellence with in-house and community programmes reaching out to diverse social and ethnic communities across London.

Gillian has consulted to arts and educational organisations in the UK, US, Japan and Canada and has received over 30 awards and commendations for bringing fine art into the lives of ordinary people from organisations across the United Kingdom. She received an MBE in 1995 and in 2005 a CBE from the Queen for services to Education.

Edmund de Waal OBE
Edmund de Waal OBE

Edmund de Waal OBE is best known for his work in art and ceramics. As one of the world’s leading ceramic artists, Edmund studied English at Cambridge University and ceramics in both England and Japan. He is best known for his large scale installations, which have been exhibited in many museums and public collections internationally. These have included major interventions in the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Britain, Gagosian Gallery in New York, and the Kunsthistorisches in Vienna.

Sir John Mummery was educated at Dover Grammar School for Boys. He was called to the bar in 1964, beginning a long and distinguished legal career. By the 1970s, he was known as a copyright barrister, being consulted on matters such as Led Zeppelin’s Black Mountain Side and its relation to Bert Jansch’s version of Down by Blackwaterside. He also represented Apple Corps in efforts to stop the distribution of recordings of The Beatles in Hamburg.

Rt Hon Sir John Mummery DL
Rt Hon Sir John Mummery DL

In 1989 Sir John was appointed High Court Judge and became Lord Justice of Appeal in 1996. He served as President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal from 1993 to 1996, and was appointed President of the Security Services, Intelligence Services and Investigatory Powers Tribunals in 2000.

Notes to Editor

 Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with a particular strength in higher education for the public services.

With nearly 20,000 students across Kent and Medway, its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • 93% of our most recent UK graduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are the number one choice for local people looking to study at university in Kent (2013 UCAS).
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2012/13 Destination of Leavers from Higher Education survey



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Last edited: 14/12/2018 22:16:00