grads2016July 2016 saw more than 3,500 students graduate from Edge Hill University, from 15 ceremonies and applauded by 10,000 guests in just one week.

Between July 18th and 22nd, the achievements of our undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Faculty of Education, Faculty of Health and Social Care and Faculty of Arts and Science were celebrated.

The University also awarded 10 honorary doctorates outstanding individuals. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – were recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.

Student who escaped arranged marriage to pursue education awarded Chancellor’s Scholarship


Roshan was nominated for the Scholarship by the University’s Muslim Chaplain Hikmah Ibrahim for her ongoing dedication to other students who may be struggling or need a hand.

Roshan was nominated for the Scholarship by the University’s Muslim Chaplain Hikmah Ibrahim for her ongoing dedication to other students who may be struggling or need a hand.

After overcoming an abusive arranged marriage to transform her life through education, Roshan Adam was this week awarded a Chancellor’s Scholarship for her consistent contribution to the Edge Hill community.

Roshan, 37, the oldest of four sisters from a migrant family, grew up in a house where marriage and settling down was prioritised over studying and education.

“Things were different when I was growing up. Being subject to a strict parental upbringing, I wasn’t given the opportunity to study or to seek a partner of my choice,” said Roshan. “Consequently, I was cornered into marrying at the age of 19 to a man of my parents’ choice. Without complaint I accepted with the understanding that my parents wanted what’s best for me.

“I lived for three years in a marriage that was abusive from the beginning, and it was one of the most terrible times in my life. The marriage ended in divorce and a lot of the blame was wrongly put on me, so my parents kindly accepted me back into their home.”

Roshan struggled psychologically to move on from her past, and lived with severe stress, fear and vulnerability which played a big part in her accepting the will of her family and agreeing to a second arranged marriage, this time with a man of smart appearance and mannerisms. Roshan thought she had been given a second chance at happiness, until warning signs started to appear.

“I was stricken with that familiar feeling of fear and anxiety once again, but this time it was ten times worse as I suffered abuse in multiple ways,” said Roshan. “As well as dealing with the aftermath of this marriage, I had to cope with my own emotions.  As always, my close family members were there to support me but having tested my endurance and resolve like never before, once again the only solution left was a divorce.

“I found being a two-time divorcee in a generally narrow-minded judgemental society a struggle, and contemplated my future, questioning where I went wrong and what I could do to achieve happiness.”

Despite being out of education for 15 years, Roshan decided to grasp the single aspect of her past that she could rectify, and try and achieve her ambitions.

“I’d always had a passion for childcare and working with children. When I got back to London and felt confident enough, I started applying for childcare courses around the country. I wanted an education.

“Although I was offered a place at other Universities, I fell in love with the Edge Hill campus and the helpful nature of the tutors on the course, and I couldn’t wait to start,” said Roshan.

After settling into university life and successfully completing her first year, Roshan’s dark past and recent divorce troubles made a reappearance. She had to make several trips back to London and had to relive past emotions and experiences, which she was scared would erode her potential for a brighter future, however throughout this time she received support from friends and tutors, helping her persevere with her studies and realise that nothing could get in the way of achieving her dream.

In addition to this, in her final year Roshan was encouraged by her friend to undergo some tests which revealed that she is dyslexic. This came as a complete shock, but she didn’t let this hinder her studies.

Roshan was nominated for the Scholarship by the University’s Muslim Chaplain Hikmah Ibrahim for her ongoing dedication to other students who may be struggling or need a hand.

“Roshan works with students who struggle with their course work and studies, often sacrificing her own free time to support and encourage others, and in spite of needing support herself. She is an example of how people can rebuild their lives and move forward,” Hikmah said.

Roshan said helping others, particularly women, is a great passion of hers and the reason she studies Social Sciences.

“When I see people struggling and going through difficult times, I think of my own experiences. I love counselling and helping people to improve their lives. I tell the women I speak to ‘never give up no matter what life throws at you’ and I think it helps,” Roshan said.

She is now in the process of applying for jobs and thinking about her future.

“I’d love to work for a charity that helps women and children in uncertain circumstances. I want to make a difference in people’s lives,” she said.

To find out more about Childhood and Youth studies click here

PGCE student Akta overcomes kidney failure to score top marks


Committed PGCE student Akta Chande has overcome huge personal adversity to graduate from Edge Hill University this week, after what she thought was a cold turned out to be something much more serious.

Akta, aged 24 from Bolton, has studied at Edge Hill since 2010, obtaining a degree in English Language and then staying on to complete her PGCE.

During the Christmas holidays of Akta’s first PGCE year, she began to feel unwell with a cold that wouldn’t go away, and then in January while she was completing her second placement, Akta’s feet started swelling and the joints in her knees began to ache. She went to see her doctor, but nothing was picked up.

“One night, I started breathing very heavily and called an ambulance,” said Akta. “My blood pressure was extremely high so I got admitted and from there I found out I had a rare type of kidney disease called dense deposit disease. At this point I needed treatment to try recover my kidneys.

“Edge Hill supported me and I deferred the year to finish the following year. My kidneys became stable with the treatment. The next academic year I started afresh and my tutors provided me with extra support by giving me one to one meetings to offer help with my assignments which helped me a lot.”

By May 2015, Akta was feeling much better and she started her second placement. Everything was going well until her kidney function started to decline once again, however the school where Akta was completing her placement was extremely supportive and allowed her to go for as many appointments as she required.

Her final placement in January 2016 however, proved to be the most difficult.

“My last placement was extremely hard for me, as this time my kidneys were failing and I had to have an operation and start dialysis – I even fainted during class.

“After being so unwell throughout the placement, I ended up getting a First which I am so happy with. My tutors from Edge Hill and my school were extremely supportive and helped me through, and I am so grateful for this as I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Akta is planning on becoming a supply teacher while she waits for her kidney transplant.

Click here for more information about studying for a PGCE at Edge Hill University.

Former Pro Vice-Chancellor accepts Honorary Doctorate of Edge Hill University


Former Edge Hill Pro Vice-Chancellor, Mark Flinn was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University today in recognition of his service to higher education.

Mark served as an Edge Hill University Pro Vice-Chancellor for 17 years, retiring in July 2009. He joined the University in 1992, and was instrumental in the transformation of Edge Hill to the successful University it is today, playing a key role in historic milestones such as gaining taught degree powers, research degree powers and the university title.

Mark said in the ceremony: “It is with great pride and humility that I stand here today. I was most fortunate to have a 17 year career here at Edge Hill University, by far the best and most enjoyable days of my working life. I was even more fortunate to work with a remarkable team of colleagues, some of whom are here today. Thank you for working alongside me and helping to build this great university.”

Since retiring, Mark has continued to work hard for the University. He jointly authored the history of the University, A Vision of Learning, to commemorate its 125th anniversary and the award of Freedom of the City of Liverpool.

Three years later, in 2013, he published Wide Horizons, celebrating the University’s 80 years in Ormskirk.  Last year he wrote Temporary Darkness: Edge Hill in World War One.  Alongside this, he has researched the Bingley Years, Edge Hill’s forced relocation to West Yorkshire during the Second World War, and is in constant demand for lectures to the Guild of Former Students.

Mark has also been heavily involved in creating Edge Hill’s University archive. Around the University and elsewhere there were pieces of the past, stored on shelves or in cupboards and no one had attempted to preserve or catalogue these items.

He worked with colleagues in learning services to provide access to these materials, and today former students, elderly relatives, community members continue to submit, material to the archive, and the University now holds a stunning history of education and social change.

As a result of his lifelong fascination and connection with history, Mark also founded the Mark Flinn Scholarship to recognise students who are keen to develop their skills by undertaking a research project which makes extensive use of historical evidence.

In his speech to graduands from the Faculty of Education he shared a glimpse into the history of Edge Hill University, finishing with:

“Now graduands, you are the class of 2016 and you will remember this day for the rest of your lives. You have studied at a university that was awarded during your time here the title University of the Year.

“You have studied at an institution with a proud 131 year history that has never been stronger or more highly regarded than it is today, but the qualities that define Edge Hill University today are deeply rooted in its history

“You have made the very best start to your career in the teaching profession by choosing to study and train at Edge Hill University. You have fully earned your award today. Edge Hill has been synonymous with excellent teacher training and development in the region for over 130 years and its graduates continue to occupy key positions in the teaching profession.

“I am immensely proud to say along with you today that I have a degree from Edge Hill University.”

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.


Inspirational student Stephanie wins Chancellor’s Scholarship


Stephanie Edwards decided to leave work and return to education as a mature student, and after overcoming a huge personal hurdle, she has been awarded a prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship.

After discovering her passion for wanting to help people in emotional distress and desire to become a counsellor, Stephanie decided to embark on a BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy programme, from which she graduated this week.

Soon after she started her course, something about Stephanie’s writing caused her tutors to encourage her to seek assessment by Learning Support, and after analysis she was told that she has dyslexia, which came as a complete shock.

Stephanie was wholeheartedly committed towards getting the education she yearned for in order to follow the profession she knew was her calling, so she didn’t let dyslexia stop her and instead fully embraced the support Edge Hill offered.

During her time at Edge Hill, Stephanie has immersed herself in a world of ideas and insights, which have made her fully aware of her potential to make a difference to people’s lives.

As well as her academic success, she has also worked tirelessly at the Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre (RASA) in Liverpool, offering her services, support and advocacy for those who have experienced sexual abuse or violence.

She is passionate about working with vulnerable adults within the community, and dedicated to providing a ‘choice’ for clients as risk of being lost within the system. She has also been a strong advocate for equal access to these critical services for both men and women.

Dr Irene Dudley Swarbrick believed that Stephanie was fully deserving of a Chancellor’s scholarship, and nominated her for the award.

“I am overwhelmed by the nomination for a Chancellor’s scholarship and so honoured to receive it too. I have had the most life changing experience at Edge Hill University,” said Stephanie.

“My course tutors have been amazing and I will always be grateful to them as they have been truly inspirational and given me the belief that I could achieve my degree when I had many doubts about myself.  I also had excellent support from Learning Services particularly Lindsey Norburn.  When I received my assessment report to affirm I had dyslexia, it was a relief, and helped me develop and understand my own way of learning, again this has been life changing.

“This scholarship will definitely help me progress on to do my Masters and continue with my voluntary role as a counsellor and psychotherapist for RASA, which is so important to me as I feel privileged to work in this particular field with the clients I hope I can help.”

Stephanie aspires to carry on with her education and complete a PhD that continues the research within her dissertation, and supports and informs the development of RASA’s work.

Click here to find out more about studying Counselling and Psychotherapy at Edge Hill University.

Southport Mum of three overcomes devastating family challenges to realise her dream

During her studies Laura volunteered at Home Start, a charity that supports vulnerable families with children under the age of five, which has inspired her career aspirations.

During her studies Laura volunteered at Home Start, a charity that supports vulnerable families with children under the age of five, which has inspired her career aspirations.

Mature-age student and Mum of three, Laura Farrow graduated with a degree this week in the face of an exceptionally challenging family illness.

Just before Laura, 43, commenced her Child Health and Wellbeing studies her brother suffered a near fatal brain injury that has left him suffering from recurrent seizures that see him frequently admitted hospital.

“Studying has at times been difficult due to life events. I have three children and my husband works away in the week. Additionally before I started my studies, my brother acquired a life-changing brain injury. At times the seizures are so severe that he has been put in an induced coma. Due to this I have looked after his two young children and offered emotional support to my family.

“This obviously has been extremely difficult for my family, as well as distressing and emotionally draining for me. At times I’ve found it impossible to concentrate on my degree but my amazing lecturers have been so supportive and understanding.

“They are so approachable and knowledgeable and really understand the impact family life can have on studying. The support from other students has also really helped me complete my degree, as there has been so much laughter and the odd tearful meltdown,” Laura said.

Despite these adversities and caring for five young children, Laura was passionate to pursue a new career and work in an industry close to her heart.

“After being a full-time mum for many years, I felt it was my last chance to study for a degree and find a job that I found interesting. I chose Edge Hill University because of the quality of the course, the facilities, and also because it’s a beautiful university with lovely landscaping and a great atmosphere.

“When I first started I felt excited and a little apprehensive. I realised I was the eldest on the course, but after a week or so I felt that I really fitted in and everyone was lovely and so easy to get on with.

“I thoroughly enjoyed learning and found the various modules so interesting. I have learnt so much, gained so much confidence, improved on my presentation and written skills, met some lovely people and, most importantly, I have proved to myself that I can achieve amazing results,” she said.

During her studies Laura volunteered at Home Start, a charity that supports vulnerable families with children under the age of five, which has inspired her career aspirations.

“Volunteering with Home Start has helped me decide what career path to take and has given me the confidence to achieve this. In September I am going to start a Masters in Social Work, which will eventually lead to me achieving my dream job of becoming a social worker.

“I can honestly say that being a mature student at Edge Hill has been such a positive experience and I am so pleased I had the opportunity to complete my degree at this university,” she said.

To find out more about Bachelor of Science, Child Health and Wellbeing click here.

St Helens-born conductor accepts Honorary Doctorate from Edge Hill University


John is currently the Musical Supervisor for The Phantom of the Opera US tour and for Les Misérables in London and Korea.

John is currently the Musical Supervisor for The Phantom of the Opera US tour and for Les Misérables in London and Korea.

St Helens-born conductor John Rigby was awarded Honorary Doctor of Arts by Edge Hill University at a ceremony held on the campus.

The acclaimed conductor began his career in musical theatre and has been musical director for a long list of prestigious productions. He is currently the Musical Supervisor for The Phantom of the Opera US tour and for Les Misérables in London and Korea.

Accepting his award from Vice-Chancellor John Cater, John recalled the advice he was given before his first performance of Les Misérables.

“It’s fair to say that when considering some of the tasks I might have performed during my life, giving a response to such a distinguished award didn’t even come on to my radar.

“I can’t help but think of the advice I was given on conducting my first ever performance of Les Misérables many years ago. On reaching the podium I found a note left by the orchestra that simply read ‘John, wave arms until music stops. Turn around and bow’,” he said.

“It highlights the point that without the involvement of other people, a conductor is merely somebody stood alone in a room waving their arms around. When you’re relied upon as being the person stood at the front, I think the contribution of those around you cannot be valued highly enough. I’ve come to realise my effectiveness for being the guy stood at the front is entirely governed by what I’ve absorbed from the world and the people around me,” John said.

John finished his speech with parting advice for the graduating Education students.

“Enjoy life, live it to the fullest, travel, eat great food, drink fine wine, listen to music, enjoy the arts, continue educating yourselves, learn a language, learn to dance, learn to bake. Rely on your friends, family and colleagues. Value them and their advice, learn from them and enjoy their company, and let them support you.

“And when all else fails, wave your arms until the music stops then turn around and bow,” he said.

John’s formidable list of current projects include Die Fledermaus for Opera Holland Park, Viennese Whirl with the Orchestra of Opera North, Bond & Beyond, Classical Spectacular, Jingle Bell Christmas, the 2017 Johann Strauss Tour, Movie Classics and White Christmas for Raymond Gubbay Ltd, the 2016 Leeds Castle Classical Open Air Concert, Last Night of the Autumn Proms and Summer Classics with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and A Very Merry Mooney Tunes with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

When asked about his personal contribution as a conductor to classical anthems, he said “to try and demystify them in some way and present them in a way that is accessible for people to appreciate, and realise that classical music needn’t be elitist, nor does it need to be dumbed down”.

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.


Edge Hill student scoops top Accountancy prize


Alastair Melville has been awarded a top prize from the Liverpool Society of Chartered Accountants, for being the most outstanding third year accountancy student at Edge Hill University.

Alastair graduated with First Class honours after completing a four year Accountancy course which included a 12 month sandwich placement, and received a certificate and a cheque for £100 from the LSCA during his graduation ceremony on Wednesday 20th July.

“Winning this award feels like a great honour and recognition for what I have done during my degree,” said Alastair. “The university lecturers who guided and inspired me throughout my course offered a large and diverse portfolio of practical knowledge. They based their teaching not only on the current marketplace, but also their personal experience within it.

“Additionally, in taking this course I was given the opportunity to undergo a sandwich placement, where I spent a year as a Commercial Finance Intern within a huge international company. I greatly increased my industry specific knowledge and practical portfolio, and received support from my tutors throughout.

“I am very proud to have undergone this course and I will always hold onto fond memories as I move forward.”

Alastair is extremely passionate about accountancy, however instead of working for an accountancy firm as he initially planned, Alastair has decided to put his new found skills to use and start up his own business.

Click here for more information about studying Accountancy at Edge Hill University.

Graduate who overcame serious brain injury to help others awarded Chancellor’s Scholarship

Michael didn’t let his injury stop him from making the most of his university experience

Michael didn’t let his injury stop him from making the most of his university experience

An Edge Hill University Sports Development student who overcame a serious brain injury to become a dedicated pupil has been awarded a Chancellor’s Scholarship at a graduation ceremony held on campus.

A keen sportsman, Michael Cartmell was playing a routine game of football seven years ago when he went for a header and clashed with another player. He went home with a bad headache, however things became more serious when his mother couldn’t wake him up from a nap and he was rushed to hospital.

Michael, now 24 years old, had suffered an acute subarachnoid hemorrhage and developed a blood clot in his brain. As a result of such a serious head trauma, he was in an induced coma for four weeks and spent a further two months in hospital.

“I remember waking up in the hospital and seeing my friends but not being able to speak,” recalls Michael. “I had to relearn everything including how to walk and talk. I was left with a slight right-sided weakness, which means that as well as learning to write all over again, I had to learn how to use my left hand to do it.”

Michael didn’t let the injury stop him from making the most of his university experience. He still plays football and tennis and has also taken up golf and athletics. Since his accident he has gained numerous qualifications, including football, disabled football, handball, tennis and lacrosse coaching, football refereeing, athletics, gym instructor and disability sports, as well as training in sports safeguarding, first aid and mental health first aid.

He also volunteered more than 100 hours for Edge Hill’s Get Active programme, coaching tennis to beginners, and was the University’s first ever tennis captain.

“I managed to remain focused throughout the three years of my degree due to the determination I had to succeed after my brain injury. It gave me a different perspective on life. Balancing your time at university is crucial, but for me it was even harder as I had to do my rehab at the same time,” he said.

Learning Facilitator, Christine Oaks from Edge Hill’s Inclusive Services Team nominated Michael for the scholarship in recognition of his commitment to his studies and helping others.

“From day one Michael completed every course that was suggested, both on campus and off. He achieved the gold award for volunteering after three years working with people of all abilities.  He has also worked with people with disabilities off campus and during his summer breaks, and secured a summer camp position during which he traveled around coaching.

“Michael has shown his leadership skills in so many ways during his time at Edge Hill but has also been reliable, punctual and driven to achieve his full potential. When you add to this a personality that is easy to work with, listens to all the advice he is given and continually goes back to his tutors to find out how he can improve, you can see why I thought his hard work should be recognised,” Christine said.

Now that his studies have come to an end, Michael is looking forward to commencing his career in sports. A feat he didn’t think possible seven years ago.

“After I graduate I plan to complete my Masters in Sport, Physical Activity and Mental Health, as well as carrying on with my tennis coaching and see what opportunities arise. My career aspiration would be to specialise in disability sports, particularly tennis,” he said.

To find out more about Sports Development click here

Football scholarship students have the world at their feet


Four dedicated Sports Scholarship students have graduated from Edge Hill University today, and the one thing they all have in common is their passion for football.

They all play for the Edge Hill women’s football team and are now firm friends, supporting each other in all aspects of university life.

Simone Magill, from Northern Ireland, moved to Liverpool to play for Everton Ladies football team in the Super League, and in September 2013, she decided to embark on a BSc Coach Education degree at Edge Hill.

i-qZ3DZV6-XL“When I was applying for university, Edge Hill stood out because of the beautiful campus and the friendly atmosphere I found when I first visited,” said Simone. “I knew I wanted to study Sport and all aspects of the Coach Education course sounded really interesting, and I was over the moon when I found out I’d been awarded an Entrance Excellence Scholarship in Sport.”

Alongside studying and playing for Everton Ladies, she also plays for Northern Ireland and coaches the Women’s University football team, and Simone says throughout her course, Edge Hill have been nothing but supportive.

“As I play in international football competitions, it often requires time away from my studies, and Edge Hill have always encouraged me and worked extremely hard to ensure that I could go and play, and still have enough time to complete my studies through extra work and support from my tutors. I’m now looking to stay on at Edge Hill and complete a Masters in Coach Education.”

Rebecca Foster from Salford, who has graduated with a BA (Hons) Physical Education and Sport, dreams of becoming a PE teacher and will be staying at Edge Hill to complete a PGCE in Physical Education. She also believes the support from everyone at Edge Hill is second to none.

“One of the main aspects of Edge Hill is their support system. Throughout my i-RzSDHmb-XLthree years I have had support from all the tutors, on all my pieces of work and especially my final year dissertation. The nice thing about our course is all our cohort are there to support each other too. I play for the Women’s Football team at Edge Hill and the support from all the
players both on and off the pitch is amazing. Being part of a sports team means other teams support you and come and watch, which is a nice feeling on match day.”

As well as playing for the University football team, Rebecca has played in the Women’s Premier League for both Manchester City Ladies and Preston North End Ladies. She also coaches a girls under 12 football team and works as a lifeguard and swimming teacher.

“It was an honour to have been awarded the Sports Scholarship for Prospective Students and something I haven’t taken for granted,” said Rebecca. “I understand that the scholarships at Edge Hill is a growing department and something I believe without I wouldn’t have been able to do and achieve the things I have in the last three years. Because of this, I have always endeavoured to give something back and volunteered for numerous scholarship events, advertising the scholarships at open days and being part of focus groups to develop new ideas.”

Gemma Jackson from North Wales, who received an Entrance Scholarship, graduated today with a degree in Physical Education and School Sports, and like Rebecca, will be staying at Edge Hill to complete her PGCE.

i-GgXMftW-XL“I have nothing but good things to say about Edge Hill,” said Gemma. “I chose to complete my degree here because when I visited, it just felt so homely and everyone was so friendly.

There were times that Gemma had to be away from her studies due to football commitments with Blackburn Rovers, and playing internationally for Wales U19s, and she has taken on various extra-curricular activities including coaching, mentoring, refereeing and volunteering in the community.

“The level of support I received from tutors was superb, especially Senior Lecturer Sarah Pinder, who was always at the end of the phone to offer advice and to help solve any problems I might have.”

Kelly Bourne from Wales, was one of only three students to be awarded an Edge Hill University Sports Scholarship at Gold standard based on her achievements in women’s football, and has already managed to secure herself a job.

“Since finishing my studies at Edge Hill, I have been offered a full time senior position with Go Outdoors which is based in Bootle, Liverpool. Go Outdoors focuses on providing necessary equipment to all individuals, who not only have specific interests in certain areas of the outdoors, but for families, couples or individuals who wish to take up outdoor activities.i-252DNSv-L

“In addition, I have also been offered a role at Liverpool Ladies Football Club within the academy set up, where I will be required to provide workshops to young aspiring athletes, and work alongside individuals who require one to one work to enhance performance levels. This job specifically relates to my degree, and I believe the help, guidance and knowledge I have gained throughout the past three years will allow me to really shine within this position and make a difference to some young athletes’ performances.”

Alongside studying for a degree in Sport and Exercise Psychology, Kelly has played for Cardiff City, Blackburn Rovers and represented her country, Wales, at U19s level alongside Gemma. Kelly is also an ambassador for Futsal – a modified form of 5-a-side football on a smaller indoor pitch – and was part of a team who won the Women’s Futsal FA Cup.

“Take challenges and try different things,” is the advice Kelly would give to current students hoping to secure employment before graduating.

“Time is tight during the years at university, but take on extra responsibility, try to get as much experience as you possibly can before you have to leave and enter the real world. Be willing to fail, work hard and remember that the more experience and knowledge you gain puts you in better stead to get a job upon graduation.”

Click here for more information about scholarships at Edge Hill University.

International Criminal Court judge accepts Honorary Doctorate of Laws

His Honour Judge Cuno Tarfusser is one of 18 Judges of the International Criminal Court and currently President of the Pre-Trials Division

His Honour Judge Cuno Tarfusser is one of 18 Judges of the International Criminal Court and currently President of the Pre-Trials Division

International Criminal Court judge His Excellency Judge Cuno Tarfusser was today recognised for his ongoing contribution to Edge Hill University’s Department of Law by being awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws.

Judge Tarfusser has contributed significantly to Edge Hill University’s Department of Law and Criminology, collaborating on research projects, and delivering key notes speeches at international conferences held by the University.

Judge Tarfusser was appointed to the International Criminal Court in 2009 as a presiding judge of the Pre Trial Chamber II, he has overseen many high-profile cases.  These include issuing a number of arrest warrants for Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, the Sudanese President Bashir for genocide, and Muammar Gaddafi, his son Saif-al Islam and the Head of the Libyan Secret Services for crimes against humanity.  He also confirmed the charges against Jean Pierre Bemba, the Vice-President of the Democratic Republic of Congo for crimes against humanity.

After accepting his accolade from the University’s Chancellor Professor Tanya Byron, Judge Tarfusser stopped by the front row to high-five special guests Mary Martin and Eileen Vickers. The two sisters from Bath moved to Italy to teach the then 10-year old Judge and his siblings English.

After accepting his award, Judge Tarfusser high-fives childhood friends Mary Martin and Eileen Vickers from Bath who taught him English as a child

After accepting his award, Judge Tarfusser high-fives childhood friends Mary Martin and Eileen Vickers from Bath who taught him English as a child

“I feel very humbled and grateful to Edge Hill University for the honour I’m being given today,” he said. “I would like to address my fellow graduands on the concept of awareness. It is only since serving as a judge at the ICC that I became really and deeply aware of how good and how lucky my life is. The reason for this new and in-depth awareness is found in what I have experienced.

“I’ve been confronted with many dramatic stories. I’ve interviewed a number of women and men that were forcibly displaced from their families, enlisted as child soldiers or as bush wives, and as such, you can imagine they suffered indescribable and unimaginable cruelty and torture which have seriously damaged their bodies and souls,” he said.

“My seven years at the ICC have made me aware of the enormous gulf between my easy, protected, and privileged life, and the brutal, cruel, and demeaning lives of these women and men. On a daily basis I ask myself why? I do believe that in important moments like this, it’s not a bad thing to reflect with layman awareness on the world that surrounds us,” he said.

Judge Tarfusser then spoke to his fellow Arts and Sciences graduands about the future and his advice for achieving success.

“Dear young colleagues, I recommend to you to be aware that you are lucky, you are privileged, you have been given the possibility to study and this is your merit.

“I sincerely, with all my heart, wish all of you who represent the future, the same and even more luck and success than I had. In order to achieve it please remain humble, be passionate and attribute importance to what you do, not what you are,” he finished.

In addition to his court work, Judge Tarfusser lectures and presents widely at conferences, workshops and seminars in Italy and abroad to share his expertise on issues of court management and international criminal law.  His decisions are regularly cited and discussed by academic scholars and practitioners in international criminal justice, criminal law, public international law and human rights.

He hopes to continue to share his expertise when his term of office at the ICC completes in 2018.  Judge Tarfusser says that he has been privileged throughout his career with the opportunities he has had, and that in this way he can give back to society and especially to young people with whom he has a strong connection.

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.

Find out more about studying Law here.

Twenty-two year old graduate who advised PepsiCo set for stellar career

Lydia graduated with first class honours receiving the Lisa Ratcliffe Study Prizeand the Hazel Richardson Study Prize for her outstanding results

Lydia graduated with first class honours receiving the Lisa Ratcliffe Study Prize and the Hazel Richardson Study Prize for her outstanding results

At 22 years of age, Edge Hill IT graduate Lydia Hobson is a force to be reckoned with, having advised PepsiCo on how to improve their factory efficiency, completing an internship at Disney’s European Headquarters, and managing to complete a 50,000 word final-year report.

Today Lydia graduated with first class honours, receiving the Lisa Ratcliffe Study Prize in recognition of having achieved the Highest Mark among Arts & Sciences graduates, and the Hazel Richardson Study Prize for achieved the highest overall average mark of any Arts and Sciences graduate.

While she has achieved great success at the University during her time studying IT Management for Business, attending Edge Hill University wasn’t Lydia’s initial plan.

“The University of Manchester was actually my first choice and Edge Hill was my second. Although on results day I found was offered a place at Manchester, I changed my mind and came to Edge Hill instead.

“I was one of the few Universities that offered Information Technology Management for Business and had state of the art facilities. I also love the sense of community that comes from Edge Hill being a campus University, particularly in my final year when I spent a lot of late nights in the library I always felt safe as I knew that everybody on site was part of the University,” she said.

Just before the start of her final year, Lydia’s tutors approached her about an opportunity to work with PepsiCo instead of doing a traditional dissertation. The project focused on investigating, and making recommendations to improve the production line at PepsiCo’s Snack Factory in Skelmersdale.

“As part of a £2.5 million project, three machines were installed in the factory. Although the machinery worked, the expected benefits weren’t meeting expectations.  My role was to investigate the issues with the new machinery and the set-up tool PepsiCo used to configure the factory, and then make recommendations which would improve the performance of the factory.

“I visited the factory frequently, conducting interviews, observing processes, and conducting data analysis. The output of the project was a 9,000 word document which was sent to PepsiCo containing my research findings and 14 recommendations to improve factory performance.

“Although the project was intense, I was delighted to find out that I achieved an average of 90% for the research project module. My experience working with PepsiCo was extremely rewarding as I was able to work on a live project and consequently make a positive impact on a real business,” Lydia said.

Lydia plans to commence her Masters in Computing at Edge Hill in September, and possibly complete either a Graduate Scheme or a PhD in the future.

“I’m unsure at the moment about my career ambition, but I could see myself pursuing a career as a Project Manager, or potentially even a teacher or lecturer. I absolutely loved the Project Management role at Disney and had the pleasure of working alongside so many talented and passionate people who taught me so much,” she said.

Find out more about studying IT management for business here.

Honorary doctorate recipient reflects on importance of university for critical thinking


Emeritus Professor Clive Emsley was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy by Edge Hill University today in recognition to his enormous contribution to criminal justice historical research.

Professor Emsley has supported, and been instrumental in the emergence of the history of crime and policing as a significant field of academic study since the 1970s. During his academic career Professor Emsley has written 14 single-authored texts, 18 edited or co-edited collections and over 50 articles and book chapters.

Criminal justice history has been an important part of teaching and research by members of the History staff at Edge Hill University since the 1980s. Edge Hill was among the first History programmes in the country to introduce modules on crime, so as a recognised authority on the subject of crime and policing, Professor Emsley’s publications have been on History reading lists at the University for several decades, and he delivered a guest lecture at the University in 2010.

Accepting his honorary doctorate, and addressing graduands today he mentioned the importance of a university education, and singled out the degrees of some of today’s graduating cohort – English and History.

He said: “I really worry about the concept of training which politicians of all hues seem to think Universities should be giving. It leads to a dismissal of quite important issues, including degrees in what a lot of you have done, including English and history.

“But why are history and English so significant? Because they teach you critical skills, not “GB plc” skills, but critical ways of approaching problems which employers find useful.

“You can think your way through a problem. You know how to read something and criticise it while you are reading it. You know how to read between the lines which is very significant.

“To my mind the growth of university education is a good thing, not just because it trains people for “GB plc” but because it encourages people to think critically, to challenge soundbites and opinions and think their way through problems.”

Professor Emsley was a co-founder and co-director of the International Centre for Comparative Criminological Research at the Open University from 2003 until 2009. He was also President of the International Association for the History of Crime and Criminal Justice for twelve years. Although based at the Open University since the 1970s, Professor Emsley has also held visiting posts in universities in Australia, Canada, France and New Zealand.

He has also made numerous appearances in the media, for example, he authored the BBC History online pages on crime and policing and appeared on Who Do You Think You Are advising Twiggy about an ancestor with a criminal record. His tenure at the Open University continued until his retirement in 2009 and he now holds an emeritus and senior research associate position.



Creative ambition took student from the car park to Michigan

During his time as a Traffic Management Assistant Phil saw many students progress through the University and felt a growing need to pursue his own creative ambition

During his time as a Traffic Management Assistant Phil saw many students progress through the University and felt a growing need to pursue his own creative ambition

A passion for creativity saw Creative Writing graduate Phil Donnelly go from working in the Edge Hill car park to interning at a prestigious film festival in Michigan.

During his time as a Traffic Management Assistant, Liverpool native Phil saw many students progress through the University and felt a growing need to pursue his own creative ambition. After speaking with tutors and being encouraged to apply, he successfully gained a place on the course.

“When I commenced my studies at Edge Hill I immediately felt the sense of inclusion and community I’d often heard students talk about. I was able to unleash the creative part of myself that I felt had been missing for long time, and got to work with like minded individuals who share my interest in creative endeavours,” he said.

Phil’s new-found passion for creativity and his commitment to his studies saw him win one of two exclusive internship positions at the Ann Arbor Film Festival in Michigan.

“The opportunity to do an internship at the Ann Arbor Film Festival was an amazing opportunity to get first-hand experience contributing to a world renowned arts festival. My responsibilities included liaising with Directors to plan their exhibitions and seminars, and ensuring their technical needs were met.

“It was a lot of hard work but also a great deal of fun. I had some down time to watch some inspiring short films and meet fascinating people. Ann Arbor is a university town as well, so there was always something going on and interesting places to visit.

“During my time there I learnt that you should always say yes to new things even though it may scare you.  The internship opened a lot of doors for me, both from my own creative perspective as well as adding to my resume,” Phil said.

Wanting to build on his passion for creativity, Phil plans to apply to teach English in Japan next year with hopes to take in as much of the creative culture mecca as possible.

“It has always been a dream of mine to live in Japan, a place I have visited many times and also where my creativity can develop,” he said.

Find out more about studying for a degree in Creative Writing here.

Graduate Daisy secures job with largest university press in the world


Bagging a dream job in marketing before donning her cap and gown is down to networking and making the most of her time at university, according to Marketing graduate Daisy Simonis.

Daisy, from Sussex, graduated from Edge Hill University this week with a BSc (Hons) in Marketing with Public Relations, and has already secured a job with the prestigious Oxford University Press where she will work as a Marketing Assistant.

“I think that the reason I gained employment before graduating was the high standard of my CV – which had been edited by the Careers Centre many times – and the fact I had taken advantage of loads of different opportunities during my degree.

“I worked as a Student Guide on campus and completed two work placements: one as part of a module – where I was a Marketing and PR intern at the Lantern Theatre in Liverpool, and the other was a self-funded volunteer placement in Toronto, assisting a non-profit organisation, with two events that they held during the summer. The work placements really helped me in interviews as I could talk about all the skills I had developed in both national and international situations.”

After graduating from University on 20th July, Daisy will head straight back to work at Oxford University Press, the largest University press in the world.

“I’m the Marketing Assistant for the Academic Law team, which focuses on books on topics such as European Union law, International law, Human Rights and Immigration, and my job will include implementing marketing campaigns, from email to social media, and representing OUP at conferences and book launches, both nationally and internationally.

Daisy puts her fast track success down to the content of her course and the support she received from her tutors and Edge Hill’s Careers Centre.

“I made contact with the Careers Centre during my first year and they have supported me a lot applying for both part-time and graduate jobs. All my tutors were really supportive, from having an open-door policy where I could discuss any questions I had with my work, to being a reference on my CV.  There were also a lot of opportunities the Business School in particular offered us, in my second year I competed at two international competitions representing Edge Hill for the first time at the FLUX Enterprise Challenge.

“The course was really interesting and the teachers were so supportive. I really enjoyed the mix of modules from both parts of my degree as it gave me additional experience that I would have otherwise been unable to gain. I think the best bit for me was meeting so many people both on and off the course, I have created so many amazing memories and a network of contacts that I’m sure will help me in the future too.”

Daisy has also received the Chartered Institute of Marketing Prize, which is awarded to the Marketing student with the best overall performance.

For more information about studying for a Marketing degree at Edge Hill University, click here.

Film festival internships and literary press launch all part of student’s experience


After representing the University at an international film festival and helping launch Edge Hill’s own literary press, Creative Writing and Film Studies student Harriet Hirshman has decided a Masters degree is her next step.

Harriet decided to apply to study at Edge Hill as she thought the course looked really interesting and it was really important to her to get a good degree.

“I absolutely loved my course, especially the Creative Writing side of things, which is why I’ve just accepted my place to continue with Creative Writing for another two years to do a Masters” said Harriet.  “There’s a sense that the tutors really genuinely care about their students and are excited about the things that they teach. I especially like how all the Creative Writing lectures are working writers. On the film side of the course we studied some really fascinating theories and concepts and I was introduced to some great films.”

During her time at Edge Hill, Harriet has definitely embraced the extra-curricular activities on offer. The University supports the Ann Arbor Film Festival which is based in Michigan in the United States, and when an opportunity for an internship arose, Harriet jumped at the chance.

As well as becoming a student blogger and working as an interview writer at the Liverpool Sound City Music Festival, Harriet has also been a part of the EHU Press events team, with the responsibility of arranging a book tour to accompany the launch of their first book. EHU Press is run solely by a team of student interns, and Harriet has had the opportunity to be a part of the whole process from logo design to social media, and she believes that taking on extra challenges is a key part of university life.

“I would advise current students to try new things and make the most of the opportunities that Edge Hill offers – even the ones that seem outside of your comfort zone might turn out to be some of the greatest experiences.”

Click here to find out more about studying for a degree in Creative Writing and Film Studies.

Actor David Morrissey accepts Honorary Doctorate of Arts


David started his acting career at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where he was born and raised

David started his acting career at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where he was born and raised.

BAFTA nominated actor David Morrissey was recognised for his ongoing contribution to UK drama, television and film by being awarded an Honorary Doctor of Arts by Edge Hill University.

Acknowledged by peers and institutions as one of the finest actors of his generation, David has achieved excellence in the world of film, television and the performing arts. His standout performances include Being Human, Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, The Deal, and most recently in his iconic role as The Governor in The Walking Dead.

Accepting his accolade from the University’s Chancellor Professor Tanya Byron, David congratulated his fellow Arts and Sciences graduands.

“It’s a great honour to be here and share your day with you. I was shown around this fantastic University and have been so impressed by everything. I can’t believe you’ve had the opportunity to spend time here. The facilities are just amazing and I was bowled over by these professional studios that are just like the ones I was desperate to get into when I was starting out.

“Being from Liverpool, when I do come back to the North West, the thing I always think about is family. When I told my Mum and Dad I wanted to be an actor, it was like telling them I wanted to be an astronaut because they couldn’t help me. They knew nobody in that profession at all but they encouraged me,” he said.

David’s continued commitment to his North West roots is evident in his consistent support of Liverpool’s film culture, and his close creative relationship to both the Everyman Theatre where he most recently performed as Macbeth in 2010, and the Unity Theatre of which he is a board member.

“My Dad always said to me ‘if you find a job you love, you’ll never do a day’s work in your life’ and I really feel that. Once I discovered the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. It was a very exciting place where we did improvisation, we walked in other people’s shoes and I loved that. The skills I learnt at the Everyman have stayed with me,” he said.

David also reflected on the joy of his charity work both with the United Nations and his own Creative Arts School Trust running drama workshops with children around the world.

“In the workshops I’ve done with students in the UK, South Africa and in Lebanon I’ve seen children who feel they have no voice, feel that nobody listens to them. After the workshops you suddenly see them opening up and their teachers notice how much more engaged they are in every aspect of their education. Drama can enlighten people in every aspect because it makes you inquisitive, makes you ask questions and that’s a great thing,” he finished.

His passion for nurturing talent has also seen David become a vocal and public commentator on the prospect that working-class talent is being priced out of acting, calling on the creative industries to do more to end their “economic exclusion” and exploitation via a culture of internships

David’s acting career started at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where he was born and raised. He made his debut in the 1983 series One Summer about two Liverpool runaways. Following a degree at RADA, he worked with the theatre company Cheek By Jowl.

As prolific and versatile as ever, in the past year David has performed in the film, The Ones Below, in the television series The Missing and wowed audiences on the London stage as Harry in dramatist Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen.

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.


Inspirational Learning Disabilities Nursing graduate awarded prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship

A nursing student who was identified by one of her classmates as “one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met” has not only graduated today but has also been awarded a prestigious Chancellor’s scholarship.

Rachel Gittons (22) from Stockport has just graduated from the Learning Disabilities Nursing degree and has already secured her first job at a hospital in Greater Manchester.

This year, she also made it onto the shortlist of the student Nursing Times awards for Student Nurse of the Year: Learning Disabilities and was involved in the national Learning Disabilities (LD) Champion campaign. As well as promoting LD Champions to schools and the wider community, she has also raised awareness of the specialism and placements to student nurses studying in other fields of nursing.

She has presented at the Positive Choices conference about her role as Student Quality Ambassador and was the first student nurse to support lecturers in promoting learning disabilities nursing with her lecturers at Edge Hill open days.

The Chancellor’s Scholarship, worth £2,000, celebrates students who help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way through their exceptional contribution to the University.

Callum Finch, who also graduated today and nominated Rachel for the scholarship said: “Rachel is one of the most inspirational people I’ve ever met. She is clearly going to go a long way and make big changes and make a difference in many people’s lives.”

Rachel said: “I am excited so excited about graduating and being part of the best nursing field about! From being dyslexic and being behind, I never thought I’d end up here.

“I was quite shocked about the scholarship. I was so happy to even be nominated by my fellow colleague Callum who is also my best friend.  It is a real honour and I’m proud of what I have achieved over three years at Edge Hill University.

Julie Toms-Ashcroft, Associate Head of Nurse Education, added: “It was clear on day one that Rachel had a passion and commitment for learning disabilities nursing. She exemplifies the qualities of a true learning disabilities nurse in that she strives to develop herself, and more importantly others, so that she and they can become knowledgeable and skilful supporters, carers and advocates for people with learning disabilities.”

Learn more about Rachel’s placements here.

Find out more about studying Learning Disability Nursing at Edge Hill University here.

Scholarship recipient’s studies were inspired by life experiences


A Skelmersdale student who returned to study after being inspired by her own experience with counselling is today graduating from Edge Hill University and has been awarded a prestigious Chancellor’s Scholarship.

Carla Stanley left school with no qualifications, but after having two children returned to college and went on to work in a care setting where she had the chance to study for NVQs.

With a newly found thirst for knowledge, Carla enrolled in a Psychology degree at The Open University and at the same time took part in some personal counselling.

It was during those sessions that she realised her vocation, and joined the first cohort of the Counselling and Psychotherapy degree programme at Edge Hill University to qualify to become a counsellor herself. But it was while studying, staff at Edge Hill identified that Carla had dyslexia.

Despite overcoming a number of challenges, she received the first 100 per cent mark on the programme and her dissertation scored 80 per cent.

As Carla was a carer for her grandparents – her grandmother was deaf and unable to speak and her grandfather was also deaf – she took the experiences and the stigma that she and her family had experienced as the basis of research for her dissertation. She discovered that deaf people see themselves as part of a unique culture and if they need access to counselling, they want it to be with a deaf counsellor.

Carla has also made a difference outside of University with volunteer counselling work, which includes working with children whose parents are terminally ill, and also those affected by divorce, domestic violence, separation and loss.

Carla said: “The support I have received at Edge Hill has been fantastic, and not just from my tutors but everyone at the Faculty of Health and Social Care.

“It’s meant so much that I’ve decided to apply for a Masters degree in research to study the provision of counselling for the deaf, and the checks and measures to do with that, so I’m looking forward to continuing my research at Edge Hill University.”

The Chancellor’s Scholarship celebrates students who help to raise the profile of Edge Hill in a positive way through their exceptional contribution to the University.

Senior lecturer Irene Dudley-Swarbrick nominated Carla for the award.

She said: “To have personal struggles, then having a diagnosis of dyslexia is always emotional, but Carla has done so well. She is very focussed, and very organised and has really worked hard to make the best of the resources available.

I’m very proud of what she has achieved, and not only was she the first of the cohort to achieve a 100 per cent mark, she was the first of my career. This cohort have really been an outstanding group of students.”

Carla added: “I was very surprised to learn I’d won a scholarship, but it means a lot that the tutors have recognised the journey I have been on, and especially by someone as great as Irene.

Find out more about studying for a degree in counselling and psychotherapy here.


Terror attack survivor graduates to a “wonderful future”


At 4am on June 26th last year, the decision by Edge Hill Masters student Hollie Ling to watch the sunrise over the beach in Tunisia changed her life forever.

Hollie, from Warrington, was taking a holiday just before the start of the third year of her Masters in Nursing in the popular resort of Port El Kantaoui with her partner.

Because of their early start, they had positioned themselves on the beach on the sun loungers nearest to the sea and were enjoying a relaxing day in the sun until the unimaginable unfolded before their eyes.

“At 12.15pm we heard a popping sound and thought it was a speed boat back-firing,” explained Hollie. “But when we looked up we saw a man shooting people with an assault rifle. And he was heading towards us.

“We literally ran for our lives. There was sand flying everywhere and we could hear the bullets screeching past us and hitting the sand and parasols.

“The Tunisian people protected us from the bullets, they shielded us and made a wall to out of their bodies.”

Hollie and her partner ran back to her hotel and hid in their room for five hours, listening to the shooting and waiting for help to arrive.

“I rang my family to say goodbye. We were watching the death toll on the news getting higher and higher, waiting for him to eventually get to us.

“We then saw on the news that he had been shot by the military. We didn’t feel safe still though, we were evacuated by the holiday reps at 10pm that night and flew home.”

On that day, 38 people lost their lives, 30 of them British. Throughout the last 12 months, Hollie has struggled to come to terms with what she witnessed and has developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which has had a significant impact on her daily life and her studies.

“When the incident happened I was about to start my third year of Nursing so I had a lot of pressure on me,” said Hollie. “My personal tutor was an amazing support to me, nothing was ever too much trouble. She spoke to me every day and arranged for me to have a few weeks personal leave, and then when I felt like I could attend university again, she made it so that I felt safe. She understood that crowded areas were a terrifying thing to me, and suggested for the main lectures to be emailed to me if I felt that I couldn’t sit in the big lecture theatres.

“There was a point where I didn’t think I would be able to complete my course but with the support I received from everyone at Edge Hill, I was able to finish and qualify. Completing my course was the only thing that got me through, it gave me a reason to get up and carry on.” she said.

Hollie, who graduated today (Tuesday 19 July) has already been successful in securing a permanent job, and now works as a staff nurse at the hospital where she completed her placement.

“If students are going through difficult times I would advise that they firstly ask for help. Your tutors wants you to succeed,” said Hollie. “Secondly, don’t give up. I have never been more proud of anything in my life then I am for finishing my masters and qualifying as a nurse. Despite everything that happened I did it.

“Although I look back at the incident and feel devastated because of the lives that were lost and the lives that were ruined, I have a wonderful future ahead of me, and I’m so lucky that I am able to say that.”

Click here for more information about studying Nursing at Edge Hill University.

Husband and wife peace campaigners accept Honorary Doctorates from Edge Hill University


parrys 1

Colin and Wendy Parry were today awarded with Honorary Doctors of Education by Edge Hill University for their efforts in promoting peace and community education in the wake of a family tragedy.

On 20 March 1993, Colin and Wendy’s 12 year old son, Tim was involved in an IRA bombing attack in Warrington, and died four days later. Keen to ensure that their son did not die in vain, Colin and Wendy established the Foundation for Peace charity in 1995.

It was in the “very, very dark days” immediately following the bombing when the couple tried to find answers about why the IRA would choose Warrington, that they agreed to make a programme with the BBC.

PARRYS2“It was a very tough programme to make,” said Colin. “But we did find one bright spot in that month of making the programme. We witnessed a group of young Northern Irish people, politically divided but united around the concept that you cannot resolve disputes through violence.

“So while they may have had different political ambitions they all united around the concept of peace building.

“The foundation is predicated on the principle that you talk to your enemy. I can’t see how any progress can be made in any conflict of any kind without dialogue”

The Foundation for Peace works with people from all backgrounds to prevent conflict by helping them to develop the skills and understanding to be able to resolve conflict through non-violent means. The Foundation also provides training and guidance to leaders and mangers, including those at government level, on how to deal with past, present and future conflicts.

In March 2000 Colin and Wendy opened the Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Peace Centre in Warrington; a safe place where people can learn about non-violent resolution of conflict. Colin and Wendy are passionate about encouraging those involved in or affected by conflict to build meaningful friendships and find the means of working together to eliminate the prejudice and distrust.

Speaking to today’s graduands, Colin added:

“What matters most to us is that we make a meaningful and long term difference in the world.

“I would look to you to be the generation that can break the mould, who will step across the road to speak to someone from the other side, whatever that other side is, who do take the trouble to learn more about why people have differences and to make your own contribution. Everyone can make those bigger gaps smaller in a very simple way by conversation. That’s our simple mantra.”

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.


Graduate Laura is committed to making a difference


Dedicated Health and Social Wellbeing student Laura Linney has secured her dream job working with some of society’s most vulnerable people after graduating from Edge Hill University earlier today.

Laura, from Manchester, landed a job at Mountwood Academy in Lancashire after spending three years working tirelessly with charities across the North West during her time at University, juggling volunteer work and fundraising alongside lectures and part-time work.

During her time at Edge Hill Laura raised money for Victim Support and Motor Neurone Disease Association, organising raffles, bag packs and cake stalls to fund major charity events including Arctic treks and skydives, and has given up her time to volunteer for charities including the British Heart Foundation (BHF), Crisis and Ms Claire’s Prep School, Jamaica. Earlier this year she campaigned for people to undertake the BHF’s HeartStart First Aid Course, designed to teach people how to use Automated External Defibrillators used to restart the heart during cardiac arrest.

In 2015 she was jointly awarded the Student Employee of the Year Award for her work with Edge Hill’s Admissions Department. The award was presented to the Admissions team, consisting of 20 students across all years. They were nominated because of their enthusiastic approach to communicating with potential new students and how they successfully show their pride and affection for the University and the community that resides within it.

Despite only graduating on 19th July with a BA (Hons) in Health and Social Wellbeing, Laura has already secured a job. She started working at Mountwood Academy in Lancashire in June where she works with vulnerable young people in a care and education setting, continuing her commitment to making a difference in people’s lives.

“The young people I work with have various learning difficulties, emotional and behavioural difficulties and disabilities, sometimes coming from difficult backgrounds also,” she said.

“If I were to give advice to current students hoping to secure a job before graduating I would say; start with your studies by using every tool available at Edge Hill including the library, tutors, and job opportunities to gain experience and a positive grade in order to give yourself a better chance at the career you would like. Apply for everything you can in the field you want to go into to make yourself known to employers for the future.”

Click here to find out more about studying for a degree in Health and Social Wellbeing.

Liverpool-born classical pianist receives Honorary Doctorate of Arts

Paul Lewis' recital career has seen him perform at venues such as London's Royal Festival Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Sydney Opera House.

Paul Lewis’ recital career has seen him perform at venues such as London’s Royal Festival Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Sydney Opera House.

Internationally regarded as one of the leading musicians of his generation, classical pianist Paul Lewis received an Honorary Doctorate of Arts from Edge Hill University at a ceremony held on the campus.

Recently appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours, Paul has consolidated his reputation as one of the world’s foremost interpreters of the central European classical repertoire.

The son of a Liverpool docks worker and a local council officer, Paul has not forgotten his roots, regularly performing in the North West. It was here as a young man, Paul supplemented his self-taught hours at the keyboard by eagerly borrowing vinyl recordings of pianists such as Kempf and Brendel from his local library. In recent years he has been outspoken about reforms to education and the consequences of library closures in the area.

Upon receiving his Honorary Doctorate, Paul said: “To receive an award like this is a huge honour. As a pianist, you practice perfecting your craft and never expect to be rewarded for what you do. Growing up just up the road, this Honorary Doctorate means a great deal and really resonates with me.

“It was fantastic to feel the enthusiasm and excitement in the graduation ceremony.  The morale of the students and the sense of celebration was great to be part of.”

Instead of giving the standard Honorary speech, Paul gave the audience an intimate performance of one of his favourite Schubert pieces.

“I was asked to prepare a response which is normally a five-minute speech. As I’m not much of a public speaker, it was much easier for me to play for five minutes. Schubert’s thoughtful pieces are something everyone can relate to, and have a unique way of drawing people in,” he said.

Paul studied with Joan Havill at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London before going on to study privately with Alfred Brendel.  His numerous awards have included the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year, two Edison awards, three Gramophone awards, the Diapason D’or de l’Annee, the Preis Der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik, the Premio Internazionale Accademia Musicale Chigiana, and the South Bank Show Classical Music award. Paul’s recital career has seen him perform at venues such as London’s Royal Festival Hall, Carnegie Hall in New York, and the Sydney Opera House.

Along with his wife, the Norwegian cellist Bjørg Lewis, he is Artistic Director of Midsummer Music, an annual chamber music festival held in Buckinghamshire, UK. In October 2015, he was appointed joint Artistic Director of the Leeds International Piano Competition.

Reflecting on his incredibly successful career, Paul had the following advice for the Performing Arts graduands:

“Play the long game rather than looking for short term success. Be honest about what you want to do and enjoy it. Never compromise or lose sight of why you set out to do what you are doing,” he finished.

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.

Not even a brain tumour could hold Jessica back


Against the odds, inspirational scholarship student Jessica Johnson has overcome huge health problems to from Edge Hill University today.

Jessica was awarded a Chancellor’s Scholarship last year based on her positive attitude and determination, and even though she has had to have so much time off, she has graduated this week with a degree in Teaching, Learning and Mentoring Practice.

At the end of Jessica’s first year at Edge Hill, she was diagnosed with a grade two brain tumour, and faced a high risk operation. To help raise awareness of cancer in young people, Jessica agreed to be filmed for Channel 5’s Brain Hospital where her day-to-day activities leading up to the surgery were filmed, as well as the four hour operation where she was fully awake and playing on an iPad.

Unfortunately Jessica’s tumour returned two years later and Jessica still has difficulties with her speech and memory and has had to retrain herself to do simple tasks like getting dressed. She lost some feeling in her rights arm as a result of the surgery and still receives regular physiotherapy – but she hasn’t let this get in the way of her studies.

As well as sharing her experiences with others on television, Jessica has helped raise funds and organise events for the Teenage Cancer Trust and CLIC Sargent. She also set up a Facebook page, where she blogs about her experiences and gives advice and support to other young people with cancer.

Jessica has overcome this huge personal adversity and has decided she wants to become a supply teacher. She believes her success is down to the support she has received from Edge Hill.

“I’m so thankful for the help and guidance I’ve received from the Student Services Inclusion Team and in particular my Learning Facilitator. I’ve had so many weeks away from my studies and throughout that time I regularly spoke to my tutors and tried to keep up to date with my work, and I couldn’t have done it without them.

“I made lots of friends while on my course and they always kept in touch when I was off, which definitely helped to cheer me up.

“I would advise current students to never give up on their dreams – no matter how long it takes you, you’ll get there in the end.”

To find out more about studying for a degree in Teaching, Mentoring and Learning Practice, click here.

Dedicated student and mother overcomes serious illness to achieve teaching dream


Teaching student Gillian Dixon has overcome challenging personal adversity including chronic illness and suffering a stroke to graduate with first class honours from Edge Hill University at a ceremony held on campus today.

Gillian, 40, had initially started her studies whilst working for the University’s Academic Registry department in 1999 and was enjoying her Organisational Management degree before pausing due to the birth of her son, Joseph.

Sadly, it was shortly after this time that she was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, a chronic relapsing form of inflammatory bowel disease. The severity of the disease was extreme and required extensive surgery.

“Rare complications led to more than two years of requiring intravenous feeding. Cruelly, this also led to me contracting meningitis and suffering a stroke.  I had no choice but to withdraw from my studies and retire from Edge Hill on the grounds of ill health,” Gillian recalls.

“Throughout this horrific period, the tremendous support of my husband Neil, also an Edge Hill employee, and the wider support provided by loving family and friends, helped to motivate a remarkable return to health,” she said.

After becoming well enough to return to work as a Teaching Assistant, Gill was once again bitten by the ‘study bug’. She completed a Level 3 Diploma in Support Teaching and Learning which prompted her to investigate ways of accessing Initial Teacher Training courses.

“Thanks to superb advice from Edge Hill, in particular Pre-Entry Advice and Guidance Officer Ann Kennedy, I enrolled on the BA (HONS) Teaching, Learning and Mentoring Practice degree. This set my career aspirations on a whole new path.

“I was subsequently offered a place on the BA (HONS) Primary Education with Qualified Teacher Status degree. After graduating with distinction, I studied modules for the final year of the QTS programme,” Gillian said.

Gillian said she has one message for anyone considering studying at Edge Hill: just do it!

“The challenges throughout my four years of study have, at times, been vast. Attempting to juggle academic study, full time work, family commitments and professional practice has required dedication and perseverance.

“However, along every step of the way, I have received exceptional support and guidance from Edge Hill tutors and support staff. The continued encouragement of Neil and our son, Joseph, has spurred me on to never lose sight of my end goal.

“If I were to give a message to anyone considering embarking on degree study at Edge Hill, it would simply be – do it, it may just change your life!” Gill said.

With her studies complete and first class honours in hand, Gillian has commenced teaching at a primary school in her hometown of St. Helen’s.


Former Pro Vice-Chancellor awarded Honorary Doctorate by Edge Hill University


Former Edge Hill Pro Vice-Chancellor, Professor Rhiannon Evans MBE was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of the University today in recognition of her service to higher education.

Professor Evans was a Pro Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University from 1994 to 2008, significantly developing the institution’s higher education provision by establishing the first Access to University and Women Returner courses in the area.

Addressing her fellow graduands in the Faculty of Education ceremony, Professor Evans referred to her time at Edge Hill as the most enjoyable and inspiring years of her working life.

“One of the great privileges of being a Pro Vice-Chancellor is that you get to work with people in many different roles and see the huge commitment and extraordinary talent that there is in this University.

“Edge Hill has been at the forefront of the training of teachers for more than one hundred and thirty years, and you will know that you are recognised as excellent by schools and Local Authorities up and down the country,” she said.

Professor Evan reflected on her own graduation from the University of Sussex and how her Vice Chancellor’s speech inspired her life’s work.

“On my own graduation day, I recall most clearly the Vice Chancellor telling us ‘you are privileged young people. Only four percent of your generation will have the opportunity to go to University. Use it well.’ My working life has been shaped by that realisation. That I was one of the privileged.

“Working with others I have tried to create new education ladders of opportunity for adults who missed out and for young people who are less privileged. While government policy was changeable, Edge Hill remained committed to widening participation and has been recognised as such through various awards.

“I hope that you in your role as teachers will find a way to take forward into your schools Edge Hill’s legacy of transforming lives and creating opportunities,” she said.

Moving to the North West from Brighton in 1979, Professor Evans was a senior lecturer and head of faculty at Wirral Metropolitan College. She has served on numerous national and regional committees and founded the Rhiannon Evans Poetry Scholarship on her retirement to reward and celebrate students who display promise as creative writers.

In the 2009 New Year’s Honour List, Professor Evans was awarded an MBE for services to higher education and widening participation.

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.


Former EU Foreign Policy Chief made Honorary Doctor of Edge Hill University

Baroness Ashton has been praised for her work as a negotiator in difficult international situations

Baroness Ashton has been praised for her work as a negotiator in difficult international situations

The Right Honourable Baroness Cathy Ashton of Upholland was today made an Honorary Doctor of Edge Hill University in recognition of the powerful influence her international political roles have had in encouraging peace and stability around the world.

Cathy is a Labour politician who served as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and First Vice President of the European Commission.

An impressive list of career highlights include her role in patiently brokering the first ever talks between the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo, reopening diplomatic channels in Egypt following the Arab Spring, securing the details that formed the subsequent agreement to freeze Iran’s nuclear programme, and working with US Secretary of State John Kerry to coordinate successive rounds of economic sanctions against Russia after its forcible annexation of Crimea.

Accepting her accolade from the University’s Vice Chancellor John Cater, Cathy reflected on the important role education has played in her personal and professional success.

“Education is absolutely everything, it is the transforming element of your life. It allows you to do things that your families before you could not have done. It allows you to understand the world better.

“Education is the way out of the past and into the future. I was the first and only woman in my generation to go to University. My mother grew up in wartime hardship and my father went to night school because he came from an incredibly poor mining family.  Seeing families who have come from immense poverty and deprivation, and who were not by any means incapable but didn’t have the opportunity, means that we are the promise of generations to come,” she said.

Cathy went on to congratulate the graduating Education students and impart a few words of wisdom.

“My advice above anything else is to use what you’ve learnt so that people don’t get left behind. You will know people who you were at school with who were just as smart as you, but for one reason or another didn’t get this opportunity. Your job is to try and make sure the children you work with get as many opportunities as possible.

“The greatest thing about your time at University is that it is a springboard to a fantastic future, and my job is to do nothing more than to thank your families for all they have done for you, and to wish you everything good in the future. Please, above anything, make sure you have fun,” she finished.

Lady Ashton’s political career began in 1999 when she was created a Life Peer as Baroness Ashton of Upholland by Tony Blair’s Labour Government. She became the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Education and Skills in 2001 and subsequently in the Ministry of Justice in 2004. Ashton became Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council in Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet in June 2007.

In December 2009, Baroness Ashton became the inaugural High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and served as the EU’s foreign policy chief, winning praise for her work as a negotiator in difficult international situations.

Edge Hill University will award ten Honorary Degrees during its 2016 summer graduation ceremonies. Each of the recipients – leaders in a range of areas spanning film, law, politics, music, education, and philanthropy – will be recognised by Edge Hill for their contributions to society that resonate with the University’s values, teaching and research.