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HRH The Duchess of Cornwall

Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall

Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of her inspirational leadership in promoting and encouraging literacy initiatives and celebrating literature.

Her Royal Highness, who also has the title Countess of Chester, is a champion of literacy both in the UK and internationally. She has visited numerous schools, where she often reads to children, and she has supported literacy projects aimed at improving reading skills among adults and schemes to encourage fathers to read to their children.

The Countess has a number of key patronages involving literacy, including The Queen’s Commonwealth Essay Prize, the National Literacy Trust, First Story, Beanstalk and BookTrust. In her capacity as honorary judge, she has actively promoted the BBC Radio 2’s initiative 500 Words designed to encourage creative writing for the five to nine and 10 to 13 age groups. In 2017, 131,798 children entered the competition and the six winning stories were revealed at the finale, live from the Tower of London.

Since her marriage to The Prince of Wales in 2005, The Countess of Chester has become Patron or President of over 90 charities. She also undertakes public engagements on behalf of the charities that she supports.

Amongst her many commitments, Her Royal Highness has offered support to patients, researchers and health professionals engaged in the management of osteoporosis. As President of the National Osteoporosis Society, and a previous speaker for the International Osteoporosis Foundation, she has been a champion for all who work with, or suffer from, this debilitating disorder that leads to many thousands of fractures each year.

In recent years, Her Royal Highness has shown her support of victims of rape and sexual assault by visiting centres across the UK and abroad and has developed a growing interest in financial inclusion with a particular focus on Credit Unions. The Countess is passionate about good food in schools and for the young and supports local food producers. Her Royal Highness believes that educating children about where food comes from and eating healthily is paramount to their wellbeing.

Sir Peter Fahy QPM

Sir Peter Fahy QPM

Doctor of Laws (LLD) in recognition of his outstanding contribution in his role as Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police and previously Cheshire Constabulary.

Sir Peter served as a police officer for 34 years in five police forces, including as Chief Constable of Cheshire from 2002 to 2008, and then Chief Constable of Greater Manchester from 2008 to 2015. In Cheshire, he oversaw the move from the previous headquarters in Chester to the current location in Winsford. He reorganised the force to introduce neighbourhood policing teams and worked with the Police Authority of the time to significantly increase funding for the force.

In Greater Manchester, he introduced neighbourhood policing teams there and led the force through five years of budget cuts while maintaining the protection of the public. He has held national leadership positions for workforce development, race and diversity and the Prevent counter terrorism programme.

Sir Peter was elected Vice President of the Association of Chief Police Officers and served as the Director of the Strategic Command Course as the Police Staff College for eight years. He was knighted for services to policing in 2012. In 2010, he started working with the street children charity Retrak and started an initiative which has now seen 15 teams of Greater Manchester police officers travel to Africa to work on projects there and train local police in their own time.

Sir Peter was elected Vice President of the Association of Chief Police Officers and served as the Director of the Strategic Command Course as the Police Staff College for eight years. He was knighted for services to policing in 2012. In 2010, he started working with the street children charity Retrak and started an initiative which has now seen 15 teams of Greater Manchester police officers travel to Africa to work on projects there and train local police in their own time.

On leaving policing, he took up the position of Chief Executive of the charity and now also works with the anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice. He is the founder and Chair of the community cohesion charity We Stand Together, which he started to bring communities together after terrorist attacks.

He has served as a school governor for 30 years and has also held a number of positions in the scout movement. He holds an honours degree in French and Spanish from the University of Hull and a Master’s in Human Resource Strategy from the University of East Anglia. He is an Honorary Professor in the University of Manchester School of Law and is currently serving as a member on the Commission for the Future of Policing in the Republic of Ireland and is Chair of Plus Dane Housing Association.

Rachel Clacher

Rachel Clacher

Master of Business Administration (MBA) in in recognition of her outstanding contribution to local business and in particular, the Moneypenny Foundation.

After a career in arts marketing, Rachel co-founded Moneypenny with her brother Ed Reeves, a big idea and £10,000 in 2000. Today, Moneypenny is the world’s leading provider of telephone answering, outsourced switchboard and live chat services, with offices in the US as well as the UK. The company is listed in the top five of ‘100 Best Companies to Work For in the UK’.

In 2014, Rachel established WeMindTheGap, which gives new opportunities in life and work to unemployed, under-served young women, through providing totally holistic paid traineeships. The first traineeships proved so successful, that in 2017 the charity expanded to run traineeships in Wrexham, Flintshire and Liverpool. This year, the charity will expand further into Manchester.

Rachel has received two Inspiring Women Awards, and Barclays North West Woman of the Year Medium Business Award 2018. She also sits on a Ministerial Advisory Board for Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Transport, is a Governor of Coleg Cambria and raises valuable funds for the charity through speaking and sharing her story and perspective with both national and international business audiences.

Marion Needham

Marion Needham

Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to Human Resource development within the NHS and to the University as a member of the University Council.

Marion was educated at Chester City High School and worked for 42 years in the NHS, starting as an Administrative Trainee. She held a number of roles in general management and Human Resources, retiring from the post of Director of Human Resources in 2006. During the latter years of employment she joined Chester College of Higher Education as a Governor and continued as a member of the Council when it became a University, serving for 18 years.

Her retirement has been spent as a volunteer in a number of organisations, most notably at the Hospice of the Good Shepherd as a Trustee, Vice Chair and Chair, maintaining an interest in the Hospice in the ambassadorial role of Vice President and at Chester Football Club as an office volunteer and secretary to the board (the equivalent of company secretary).

John Fisher

Professor John Fisher

Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the University as a member of the University Council.

Professor Fisher is an Emeritus Professor of Latin American History at the University of Liverpool. He studied Modern and Medieval History in London before pursuing a PhD in Liverpool. He has held numerous positions at the University of Liverpool including Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 1995 to 1998; Dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1986 to 1992 and Head of the Latin American Studies Unit, School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies from 2006 to 2010.

He has published countless books and journal articles throughout his career. His research has concentrated on the history of Peru and Spanish colonial policy in the 18th and 19th centuries. He has numerous appointments including being the current Treasurer of the British Society for Latin American Studies; is a member of the Permanent Committee of International Congress of Americanists and has was a Governor/Council Member of the University of Chester.

Maggie Evans

Maggie Evans

Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to education, in particular as Principal of the Hammond School.

Maggie began her teaching career at James Allens’ Girls School in Dulwich, before moving to the Midlands and King Edward VI Grammar School for Girls in Handsworth. After a career break to have three sons and one daughter, while she taught part-time in a local Leicestershire Comprehensive Upper School, she joined Wyggeston and Queen Elizabeth I Sixth Form College, piloting A level English Language teaching and teaching study skills for Foundation year students at the University of Leicester, before becoming the College’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO).

Subsequently, Maggie worked as an Advanced Skills and Advisory Teacher, as Head of Sixth Form at Leicester High School and finally as sole Deputy Head and for a period, Acting Head, at Oxford High School. After completing an NPQH (National Professional Qualification for Headship) at the University of Warwick, there came a change of direction into vocational and performance education, first as Director of Studies/Deputy Head at Elmhurst School for Dance (in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet) and for the past 10 plus years as Principal of The Hammond in Chester, an independent school with a focus on excellence in dance, drama, and musical theatre.

In the wider field of education, Maggie has been an English examiner, team leader and moderator for GCSE and A level awards, an Inspector with the Independent Schools Inspectorate and a panelist with the Examinations Appeals Board of the QCA, the final stage of appeal for challenging GCSE and A Level results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. She has served as a governor in several schools and currently represents independent schools on the national Council of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL).

Simon Radley

Simon Radley

Master of Arts (MA) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the City of Chester as the Executive Chef at the Chester Grosvenor.

Simon first joined The Chester Grosvenor in June 1986 as a 21-year-old Chef. Temporarily leaving the team to broaden his experience, he returned in March 1988 as a Sous Chef within the newly formed fine dining restaurant, The Arkle (now re-named Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor.) In 1989, the restaurant achieved its Michelin star and has held its Michelin star for 29 consecutive years, a record achievement in the North West. After one more stint away, Simon was asked to return in 1998 as Executive Chef and has remained there ever since. The restaurant has since been voted Best Hotel Restaurant at the European Hospitality Awards 2015 and appears in the Good Food Guide Top 50 2019.

Committed to the next generation of talent, Simon’s greatest achievement is perhaps the creation and development of the Simon Radley Kitchen Academy, which offers apprenticeships to 10 aspiring chefs each year. Now in its sixth year, the Academy has earned a reputation for the quality of training that it provides to young people, and the opportunity to join Simon’s team on a full-time basis at the end of the 18 month programme.

Paul Hancock MBE

Paul Hancock OBE

Doctor of Science (DSc) in recognition of his outstanding contribution as Chief Fire Officer of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and as President of the Chief Fire Officers Association.

Paul joined Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service in 1985 as a firefighter and subsequently served in a variety of operational and technical roles, including Station and Area Command, progressing to Assistant Chief Fire Officer with responsibility for Integrated Risk Management Planning, Community Risk Management (Prevention and Protection), ICT, Projects and Business Continuity. Paul moved to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2007 as Deputy Chief Officer with responsibility for Emergency Response, Human Resources, ICT and Asset Management, and was appointed Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive in September 2009. Between April 2016 and July 2017 Paul was also the Chief Fire Officer of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service.

In addition to his responsibilities within Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Paul was the President of the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) during 2015/16. During his term as President, he led the transformation of CFOA to the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and played a key role in the transfer of the fire and rescue service nationally to the Home Office from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

Paul also chaired the Cheshire and Warrington Public Service Reform Programme Board for a number of years and was the Project Director for the North West Fire Control Project. He has a Master’s in Business Administration, is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Central Lancashire. Paul was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in 2014.

 Paul was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2021.

Dr Janet Atherton OBE

Dr Janet Atherton OBE

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to public health services.

Janet trained in medicine and public health at Newcastle University before moving to the Wirral to take up her first consultant post. She has extensive experience working as a Director of Public Health in both the NHS and local government, first in Wirral and latterly in Sefton. She was instrumental in the development of Champs (the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Network) and she also established and chaired Smokefree North West, (later to become Tobacco Free Futures and Healthier Futures.) This partnership was influential in smokefree legislation.

Janet was elected President of the Association of Directors of Public Health UK from 2012 to 2015, playing a leading role in the transition of public health from the NHS into local government during her presidency. She has also advised the House of Commons Health Select Committee. She was also awarded OBE for services to public health in 2015, and since then has focused on enabling others to improve the health and wellbeing of the people they serve, through her roles as Senior Adviser to Public Health England and systems leadership consultancy.

Janet is a trustee for Cycling UK, the national cycling charity that is aiming to get millions more people cycling. She also volunteers at a local level as a ride leader with Wirral Bicycle Belles and established the successful Women’s Festival of Cycling rides in Wirral. She is also a Board Member for Alpha Living – a provider of older people’s housing operating across the Wirral and across the North.

The Late Dr Dawn Gibbins (Wild) MBE

The Late Dr Dawn Gibbins (Wild) MBE

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to local business.

Dawn started Flowcrete in 1982 in Congleton, Cheshire, with her late father, Peter Gibbins, after teenage years spent travelling across France picking fruit and working in a garden centre closer to home. She oversaw Flowcrete’s growth to become a global market leader in commercial and industrial flooring, with 30 offices worldwide and 12 manufacturing sites of excellence in the UK, Asia, Sweden, South Africa and the USA. The company, which was sold to New York Stock Exchange listed company RPM in April 2008, has a client list which includes world class names such as Bentley, Jaguar, NASA and Marks and Spencer. Dawn proudly sold Flowcrete in April 2008.

In late 2009, Dawn’s career led her to experience poverty on the streets of the UK in the undercover series of Channel 4’s Secret Millionaire. Dawn’s time spent in Bristol made her seriously re-evaluate her priorities and channel her energy and enthusiasm into setting up The Healthy Happy Hub Ltd. This embraces Dawn’s commercial acumen with her passion for healthy living, commitment to social transformation and ethical business ventures.

Dawn has an honorary MBA, the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year accolade, the title of most influential person in UK manufacturing (2006) and an MBE for services to industry (1994). She was also made a ‘Pioneer to the Life of our Nation’ by Her Majesty the Queen (2004).

The Late Professor Paul Cosford

The Late Professor Paul Cosford

Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to public health.

Professor Paul Cosford was the Director for Health Protection and Medical Director for Public Health England, responsible for ensuring prevention and control of infectious diseases and environmental hazards and for public health emergency preparedness and response. He led the global public health functions for Public Health England and, as Medical Director, led Public Health England’s work on quality and clinical governance, professional performance, and professional support for the longer term development of the Public Health system in England.

Previously, Paul led the national and local delivery of health protection services within the Health Protection Agency from September 2010, and was acting Chief Executive of the Agency from October 2012 to February 2013. Until 2010, he was the Regional Director of Public Health for the East of England, leading strategies to reduce health inequalities and to improve health.

Paul studied medicine at St Mary’s Hospital, now incorporated into Imperial College London. He trained in psychiatry in North West London, prior to entering the speciality of Public Health over 20 years ago. He was an experienced clinical leader, publishing on a variety of topics with a particularly interest in the characteristics and importance of high quality clinical and health protection teams. Paul had an Honorary Professorship in Public Health at the University of Chester and was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours of 2016.

Meredydd David OBE DL

Meredydd David OBE DL

Doctor of Science (DSc) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to promoting land based industries and national initiatives in further education.

Meredydd is one of seven children and was raised on the family farm in West Wales. He graduated from the Welsh Agricultural College, which is now part of Aberystwyth University. He spent 20 years at Coleg Sir Gar and its predecessor organisations, starting as a lecturer and Head Warden and progressing to Head of Faculty for Land-Based Studies. During this period he completed an MPhil in Soil Science at Aberystwyth.

In 1998, Meredydd was appointed as Vice Principal at Sparsholt College in Hampshire and in 2004 as Principal at Reaseheath College, Cheshire where he served for 14 years. He was awarded an OBE in 2009 for services to local and national further education. In 2017 he was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant for Cheshire and was also made a Fellow of the Royal Agricultural Society. Meredydd is a board member on the Local Enterprise Partnership and Chairs the Rural Strategy Board. He is a member of the University of Chester Council.

Meredydd is an immediate past board member for the Association of Colleges; Landex (Federation of land-based Colleges) and The National Land-based College. After retiring from Reaseheath in 2018 he was appointed as Deputy Further Education Commissioner, working for the Department for Education. Meredydd is married to Lisa and has three children and four grandsons.

David Munt

David Munt

Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the University as a member of the University Council.

Born in Huddersfield, David Munt graduated from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology with an honours degree in Management Sciences. He then joined Coopers & Lybrand, now PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) in Manchester, where he qualified as a Chartered Accountant. After a period of working at the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and further qualifying as a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, he moved to the Bradford and Bingley Building Society, where, after a spell as Management Accountant, he became Director of Treasury.

David has worked with the University of Chester for 12 years, firstly as External Advisor to the Audit and Risk Management Committee and subsequently as a member of the University Council. He has also been closely associated with his local NHS being on the Boards of Bradford and Airedale Teaching Primary Care Trust, NHS Airedale Bradford and Leeds Primary Care Trust Cluster Board, Airedale Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Inger Trevor-Barnston

Inger Trevor-Barnston

Master of Arts (MA) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the City of Chester as a Director of the Chester Mystery Plays.

Since 1982, Inger’s involvement in Chester and the Cheshire community has been multi-faceted. Training first as a Blue Badge guide for Chester, she also covered the North West and was a representative on the Chester Guilds Committee. She was also Treasurer for a few years and represented the Guild in London. After completing 27 years as a guide she led her last tour in 2012.

Inger’s involvement with Chester Cathedral started in 1994 with the ‘Building for Tomorrow’ Appeal. Inger has been a Trustee of the Chester Cathedral Development Trust since 2010 and continues in this work. She has also been a staunch supporter of the Cheshire ‘Best Kept Village’ competition since 1984 and is still heavily involved. She was also Programme Secretary for the Tarporley Branch of the National Association for Fine and Decorative Arts (NADFAS) from 1995, representing NADFAS in London and completing her time as the North West Representative in 2003. Another major involvement for Inger has been her close association with ‘The Chester Mystery Plays’ since 1998 and, as a Board Member, her main contribution has been fundraising.

In 2007, Inger joined the Cheshire Art Fund, with which she is still involved, through helping to organise events and in support of buying art for the nation. In 2000, Inger took over the running of a small Bridge club for older people and still runs this every Friday. In 2013, this led to her being asked to chair the Grosvenor Club, originally formed in 1866. She was Lady Patroness of the Cheshire Agricultural Show and continues to judge each year. Inger also was on the organising committee of the ‘Countess of Chester Relative Comfort Appeal’ charity, which raised £25,000 in 2004. Garden events at her home have hosted charitable functions for the Army Benevolent Fund, SSAFA, and local village support groups.

Ian Puleston-Davies

Ian Puleston-Davies

Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to drama and the arts and acknowledging his work with mental health organisations.

Ian was born near Flint, North Wales and is a founding member of the Flintshire Youth Theatre. He went on to study at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and embarked upon a career in entertainment. He is best known for his roles in Coronation Street (2010-2015), Marcella (2016) and in Sky’s high-profile drama, Tin Star, which confirmed Ian’s professional standing in the USA. Ian is also well-known for his role as King Thistle in the animated series Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom and Ian has been delighted to support children’s charities with personalised letters.

Ian has had a well-documented struggle with mental illness and charity work has played a huge role in his life, raising awareness and funds for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health. Ian is also a patron of The Hospice of the Good Shepherd and of the charity OCD-UK where he has an active role in speaking at conferences and to the media. In 2017, he was asked to present and narrate a 30-minute documentary about OCD for BBC Wales called OCD – An Actor’s Tale.

In 2005, he drew on his own experiences of dealing with OCD to co-write the drama Dirty, Filthy, Love. Along with prolific dramatist Jeff Pope, Ian’s work on Dirty Filthy Love was recognised by a Royal Television Society Award for Best Single Drama and was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Single Drama.