Singer-songwriter Marc Almond, Doctor Who and Broadchurch writer Chris Chibnall and comedian and broadcaster Alexei Sayle will visit Edge Hill University later this month to receive Honorary awards.

They will be joined by champion swimmer Francesca Halsall and rugby legend Ray French MBE. Dr Dame Sue Ion, one of the UK’s foremost nuclear engineers, and British academic, writer and activist Professor Peter Beresford OBE will also receive honours.

Each of the recipients will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.

Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor of Edge Hill University said: “We at Edge Hill University are very much looking forward to July’s graduation ceremonies, where we not only celebrate the achievements of thousands of our students but will also honour these seven inspirational leaders from a range of areas spanning music, television, comedy, sport, science and social policy.”

Honorary doctorates will be conferred on the following individuals during Edge Hill University’s graduation ceremonies at the Ormskirk campus between Monday 17th and Friday 21st July, 2017:

Marc Almond

Singer-songwriter and musician Marc Almond has sold over 30 million records worldwide in a career that has spanned a diverse range of musical styles from the electro of his band Soft Cell to Turkish torch songs to Brazilian Macumba music and Russian folk. In 2010 Marc – who grew up in Southport – celebrated 30 years as a recording artist with a successful tour, culminating in receiving Mojo magazine’s ‘Hero Award’. He released three albums in 2014 and has most recently released the musical anthology Trials Of Eyeliner covering the years 1979-2016. His Shadows and Reflections tour is scheduled for October and November this year.

Professor Peter Beresford OBE

Professor Peter Beresford OBE is a leading figure in the arena of citizen participation and involvement, and perhaps the pre-eminent voice in relation to service user and carer participation in service design, delivery and evaluation. He is currently Professor of Citizen Participation at the University of Essex, Emeritus Professor of Social Policy at Brunel University, Co-Chair of independent user-controlled organisation, think tank and network Shaping Our Lives and a visiting professor at Edge Hill. In 2007 he was awarded his OBE and in 2016, he was named as one of the top 100 influential people in the UK in relation to issues of disability and impairment.

Chris Chibnall

Chris Chibnall is one of Britain’s most important and accomplished television dramatists who later this year becomes showrunner for the BBC’s Doctor Who. Chris, who grew up in Formby, Merseyside, was head writer and co-producer of award-winning Doctor Who spin-off, Torchwood and writer of all three series of acclaimed crime drama Broadchurch. He contributed scripts to BBC One’s Life on Mars, was lead writer and executive producer for ITV1’s Law & Order UK; and creator and executive producer for Camelot, a dark retelling of Arthurian myth.

His two television films – BBC Two’s United, which tells the story of Manchester United’s Busby Babes and the Munich air disaster, and BBC One’s The Great Train Robbery, which documents the heist from the perspectives of both police and thieves – demonstrate Chris’ talent for dramatising historical moments around a core of well-drawn affective human relationships. He has also written five Doctor Who episodes. 

Ray French MBE

St Helens-born Ray French attained the rare honour of representing his country at international level in both rugby union and rugby league. He is also a coach, TV and radio commentator, author and columnist, – who combined his sport and media careers with a teaching career lasting 34 years – the majority of which was as an English teacher at Cowley High School in St Helens.

Francesca Halsall

Southport-born swimmer Francesca Halsall retired earlier this year from a career that saw her represent Great Britain in the Beijing, London and Rio Olympics and compete in many other international competitions, breaking records and bringing home 14 gold, 14 silver and nine bronze medals from World, European and Commonwealth championships. She is now a businesswoman, having opened a new coffee shop in the heart of Altrincham, a shared venture with two other Olympians, Jess Varnish and Liam Phillips.

Dr Dame Sue Ion

Dr Dame Sue Ion managed British Nuclear Fuel Limited’s UK Research and Development portfolio. She has worked tirelessly to promote the benefits of the industry and was credited with persuading Tony Blair to change Labour’s official government policy on nuclear power, allowing the development of an energy policy that recognises the need for nuclear, alongside coal and renewable sources, to meet Britain’s future energy requirements.

Awarded an OBE in 2002 for services to the nuclear industry, Sue was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2010 for services to science and engineering.  A Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, she was its Vice-President from 2002–2008 and was the first woman to be awarded the President’s medal in 2014. Sue was born in Cumbria but has made the North West her home.

Alexei Sayle

Alexei Sayle is a Liverpool-born stand-up comedian, actor, author, radio and television broadcaster, columnist and recording artist. He is widely regarded as one of the most original and influential performers to emerge from the 1980s alternative comedy scene, and acknowledged as a creative innovator across numerous art forms.