Welwyn Garden City’s David James among those honoured by Hatfield-based University of Hertfordshire

HONORARY degrees were given out to a host of Hertfordshire’s leading lights, including goalkeeper David James.

The awards, distributed by the Hatfield-based University of Hertfordshire during last week at the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St Albans, were among degrees given to 4,000 new graduates.

WGC-raised Bristol City stopper David James, 41, who has played for West Ham and Portsmouth and has kept goal for England, was thrilled with his award, which saw him become an Honorary Master of Science.

He said: “I consider it a great privilege to receive this degree today.

“Much as it is a personal achievement, it is only possible thanks to the time and effort invested in me, by my family and not forgetting many coaches, players and managers I have played alongside over the past 25 years.”

He added: “I feel very fortunate to have been able to express myself in a career many only dream of, and in doing so, using that career to hopefully help others wherever possible.

“Having been born and raised in Hertfordshire, it also makes me very proud to get an award from the university of my home county.”

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Also honoured were the Rt Rev Christopher Foster, now the Bishop of Portsmouth and former Bishop of Hertford who became an Honorary Doctor of Letters, in recognition of his commitment to the community and to the university.

He said: “This university is integral to the life of the county – to its economic, cultural, social, sporting and spiritual life as well as its education, to which the University of Hertfordshire brings high standards and academic excellence.”

And playwright and television dramatist, Tony Marchant, also became an Honorary Doctor of Letters, in recognition of his commitment to creative ambition and integrity in British drama.

He said: “After receiving a BAFTA Lifetime Achievement Award, this honour is a reassuring testament that I manage to keep going after that accolade.”

On the ceremonies, Philip Waters, secretary and registrar at the University of Hertfordshire who led the academic procession, said: “The University of Hertfordshire was proud to welcome back the thousands of students with their families to the ceremonies last week.

“The atmosphere was delightful and complemented by some unusually dry and bright weather.”

Honorary Awards and Fellowships were awarded to:

? David James, for his outstanding contribution as a goalkeeper and for his role in the development of youth football in the community.

? Larry Elliott, economics editor of The Guardian, for his contribution to advancing understanding of economic issues.

? Tony Marchant, one of Britain’s most distinguished playwrights for his commitment to creative ambition and integrity in British drama.

? Jan Harlan, one of the most prominent executive film producers of his generation for his outstanding contribution to the film industry and to film history and education.

? Professor John Burland, CBE, a civil engineer recognised for giving lifelong service to civil engineering, research, practice and education.

? Jean Monteiro, a long serving representative in Malaysia, for her outstanding contribution to the links between the university and Malaysia.

? Howard Burrell, an Emeritus Professor as a tribute to his many creative talents and achievements and his outstanding contribution to the university’s music and arts activities and its wider community.

? Dr Wang Kim Ha of SmartReader Worldwide, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to pre-school education, and the development of teacher training and entrepreneurship in Malaysia.

? Dr Steve Stott, an Emeritus Professor, for his outstanding contribution to the development of the university and particularly to the study of computer science.

? The Rt Rev Christopher Foster, who is also the Bishop of Portsmouth for his considerable contribution made both to the Hertfordshire community and to the university.

? Naomi Simmons, an author of English language teaching for her contribution to teaching English through story-based approaches and songs.

? Philip Mayo, a respected businessman for his outstanding contribution to business engineering.

? Fateh Singh Bhinder, an Emeritus Professor, for his outstanding contribution to engineering research, the development of industry links throughout the world, and for his genuine devotion to his students.

? Iain Nicolson, a specialist in astronomy for the major contribution he has made overall to public understanding of astronomy.

? Professor Thom Hanahoe, an Emeritus Professor for his contribution to health activity within the university and his current work as chairman of the West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust.

? Dr Paul Robinson, medical director at Merck, Sharp & Dohme, for his contribution to the development of pharmaceutical research in the UK, and for his continued support to the university’s school of pharmacy.