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Sue Birtwistle

Doctor of Letters

Born and brought up in Northwich, Cheshire, Sue Birtwistle studied Drama and English at Coventry College of Education, before joining the Coventry Belgrade Theatre in Education Company. She later became a founder member, and then Director, of a new Theatre in Education company at Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh, and two years later was offered the chance by the Nottingham Playhouse to establish a new company in the city to work across the county in a range of educational and other contexts.

Five years later, Sue was approached by Thames Television to commission and produce Theatre Box, a series of six plays for children. In the years following, she worked with some of the best screenwriters of the day, such as William Boyd, Ken Campbell, Trevor Griffiths and Andrew Davies.

Among Sue’s productions are the BAFTA Award-winning Hotel du Lac, the BAFTA nominated Educating Marmalade, and the National Theatre/BBC production of King Lear. Her production of Pride and Prejudice was rapturously received, winning many awards as well as being voted the BBC’s Best Programme of the Year and television’s Best Drama Series, in 1996. The production set new standards for screen versions of classic novels. Her production of Emma won the Best TV Film award at the Barcelona Film Festival, and two further classic productions have followed: Wives and Daughters, and the highly-acclaimed Cranford.

Sir Andrew Motion FRSL

Doctor of Letters

Andrew Motion was appointed Poet Laureate in 1999 for a 10-year term. As Poet Laureate, he has become a household name, and he has approached the role in an entirely different way from any of his 18 predecessors.

Andrew has taken his duties very seriously and made something real of the office beyond the composition of poems for grand ceremonial occasions, by addressing the urgent issues of the day, and giving a voice to the unheard or ignored. He has interpreted the role in a contemporary way, seeking to reach out to a new generation of readers to demonstrate the enduring value, power and significance of poetry.

On his appointment, he commented: ‘I see myself as a town crier, can-opener and flag-waver for poetry’. Andrew has also written several acclaimed biographies, and is a distinguished critic, an influential reviewer, and an accomplished editor and anthologist. Andrew is, without doubt, one of the finest autobiographical narrative-lyric poets in English of the 20th and 21st-centuries.

Chester has also benefited on several occasions from his enthusiastic guidance and inspirational example. For instance, he has offered his support to the University’s English Department and its creative writing programmes, and has been a popular and stimulating speaker and reader, judge and presenter at both the Chester Literature Festival, of which he is Patron, and the High Sheriff’s Cheshire Prize for Literature.

The Very Rev Dr John Hall FSA FRSA

Doctor of Theology

The Very Rev John Robert Hall was appointed by Her Majesty The Queen as the 38th Dean of Westminster, and installed in Westminster Abbey on December 2, 2006.

As Dean of Westminster, he maintains his active interest in education, through chairing the governors of Westminster School, a leading independent school based within the Abbey precincts, and of Westminster Abbey Choir School, the only school in the United Kingdom to educate only choristers.

Ordained in 1975, he was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England from 1984 to 1992, and was also an examining chaplain to the Bishop of Southwark. From 1992, he was Diocesan Director of Education in Blackburn and also, from 1994, a Canon Residentiary of Blackburn Cathedral. In Lancashire, he was responsible for 192 Church of England schools and was a governor of St Martin’s College, which had been founded by the Church of England in 1963 and forms the basis of what is now the University of Cumbria.

He worked in Westminster from 1998 as the Church of England’s Chief Education Officer, with overall responsibility for the Church’s strategy, policy and practice in relation to schools and universities, and for the informal education and nurture of children, young people and adults in and through the Church.

Building on his earlier experience, he promoted the expansion of church secondary school provision. He commissioned a review group under the chairmanship of Lord Dearing that reported in 2001 on the purposes of church schools, as distinctive and inclusive. Many of the 100 new Church of England secondary schools also proposed by Lord Dearing have since been opened.

Sir David Brailsford CBE

Doctor of Science

A former student of the University of Chester, Derby-born Dave Brailsford CBE graduated in Sport and Exercise Sciences and Psychology in 1994. He is one of the leading lights in British sport, and the architect of what many see as the most successful sporting achievement in British history.

He has been involved in cycling throughout his career and spent four years in St Etienne, chasing his dream of winning the Tour de France. He was first employed by the GB Cycling Team as a consultant, before moving on to become Programmes Director and then Performance Director. To this role, he brought a blend of sporting knowledge and business acumen which has helped the team become one of the most respected and successful in British Olympic history.

Building on the success enjoyed at the Olympics in Athens, more medals followed at the World Track Championships in 2005 and successive World Championships, Beijing Olympics in 2010 and the London Olympics in 2012 which saw Dave at the head of a great performance by the British Olympic team, with British Cycling winning eight golds, two silvers and two bronze medals.

Dave was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours amd Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 New Year Honours. He was knighted for services to cycling and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games in the 2013 New Year Honours. He stepped down from his role as British Cycling Performance Director in April 2014, to focus more on his Team Sky duties.

Terry Waite CBE

Doctor of Letters

Terry Waite’s remarkable life as a diplomat, hostage negotiator and humanitarian has earned him a truly global prominence. His lifelong devotion to humanitarian causes in his various jobs, including working as Adviser to the Archbishop of Canterbury, saw him travel extensively throughout Asia, Africa, North and South America, and Europe.

During his early life, he joined the Grenadier Guards and then the Church Army and he developed an interest in adult learning, working with the Church of England Board of Education. He witnessed the Idi Amin coup in Uganda and developed the delivery of aid to war-torn Sudan.

In the early 1980s, his negotiation of the release of several hostages from Iran brought him to public attention. In January 1987, while negotiating the release of Western hostages in Lebanon, he himself was taken captive in Beirut and remained a prisoner for 1,763 days, four years of which were spent in solitary confinement.

Born in Bollington, Cheshire, he was educated at Lymm High and Stockton Heath Secondary Modern Schools and maintains many Cheshire connections, including his patronage of the Warrington Male Voice Choir, which came to the fore following the IRA bombings in the town. He now lives in Bury St Edmunds and is internationally renowned as a lecturer, broadcaster and author.

e has held the position of Visiting Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. He actively supports more than 40 charitable organisations, ranging from the World Wildlife Fund to the Llangollen International Eisteddfod. e has held the position of Visiting Fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford. He actively supports more than 40 charitable organisations, ranging from the World Wildlife Fund to the Llangollen International Eisteddfod.

Colonel William Spiegelberg MBE TD DL

Master of Business Administration

After growing up in Bowden, William Spiegelberg undertook National Service in the mid-1950s, serving as Second Lieutenant in the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, and his military service continued under the auspices of the Territorial Army - he was a Major in the Cheshire Yeomanry from 1957 to 1974.

Much later, in the 1990s, he was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Cheshire Yeomanry Squadron, the Queen’s Own Yeomanry. He was decorated for his service in the TA, and during his term as Honorary Colonel, had the honour of receiving the Freedom of the City of Chester on behalf of the Cheshire Yeomanry. He maintains a close association with the University. He is on the Board of Trustees at the Cheshire Military Museum, a partner of the University.

His business interests are many and varied. In the 1980s, he was Company Secretary of the Greenalls Group and he has been Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Distillers, and Director of Warrington Chamber of Commerce since 1998. His voluntary work and charitable activities are equally noteworthy, for example chairing both the Warrington Charities Trust and Cheshire Crimestoppers and he has been a Deputy Lieutenant of Cheshire since 1995.

In 1997, he was appointed MBE. He was High Sheriff of Cheshire from 2001 to 2002 and lives by Oulton Park. His step-son, the 19th Earl of Derby, is descended from one of the University of Chester’s founders, the 14th Earl.

Professor Sir Drummond Bone FRSE FRSA

Doctor of Letters

Professor Sir Drummond Bone was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Liverpool from 2002 to 2008 and President of Universities UK from August 2005 to August 2007. 

He is currently Master of Balliol College at the University of Oxford.

Now living in Bow of Fife, Scotland, he is a consultant on Higher Education matters and has been asked by the government to report on National Policy on Higher Education Internationalisation. He was instrumental in setting up the Liverpool-Shanghai partnership, which resulted in a new university being established in China. During the run up to Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture, he chaired the Culture Company responsible for the year’s cultural activities and was listed as Merseyside’s Number One ‘Mover and Shaker,’ ahead of Sir Paul McCartney.

He enjoys an international reputation for his scholarship in Romantic literature, particularly the works of Lord Byron, and he is Vice-President of the Byron Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is also a member of the CBI’s Science and Innovation Board, Chairman of the Foundation for Art and Creative Technology, the UK Library Research Reserve Project, and President of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquaria. In 2008, he was knighted for his services to Higher Education and the regeneration of the North-West of England.

Dr David Collins CBE

Doctor of Business Administration

David Collins was Principal/Chief Executive of South Cheshire College, President of the Association of Colleges and Further Education Commissioner. The Crewe resident has previously worked in senior roles at a number of educational institutions, including Redditch College and Sandwell College, where he developed the ISO 9000 quality assurance standard for Further Education, which has been adopted by a number of colleges worldwide.

Under his leadership, South Cheshire College, an Associate College of the University of Chester, has been awarded Learning and Skills Beacon Status and has topped league tables for Ofsted and the Sunday Times, the latter for being one of the best employers.

A Visiting Professorial Fellow at Lancaster University, David has presented papers and seminars in the UK, America, Australasia, Asia, the Middle East and South Africa, and was awarded a CBE in 2005. He is the author of A Survival Guide for College Managers and Leaders (2006) and The Role of the Principal (2008).

The Late Dr Austen Elliott MBE

Doctor of Science

Dr Austen Elliott was a General Practitioner in Chester for 40 years at one of the first purpose-built health centres, Boughton Medical Practice, near which he still lives. Awarded an MBE for services to Medicine, he is a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), having previously served as Vice-Chairman of the National Council, and as Chairman of the Working Party formulating training objectives in geriatric care. He represented the RCGP at a conference which established a Faculty of General Practice at a Nigerian university.

Dr Elliott’s passionate campaigning for better care of older people is also demonstrated by his membership of the National Working Parties on Dementia, Out of Hours Services & Deputising Services, and Extended Care in Residential Homes and he was President of the Chester branch of The Alzheimer’s Society.

Within Chester, he was Vice-Chairman of Chester Health Authority when the Countess of Chester Hospital was being commissioned and constructed, at which he later masterminded the regional Postgraduate Medical Centre. He was Chairman of Cheshire Ambulance Committee, Secretary of the Chester Division of the British Medical Association, Chester & North Wales Medical Society, and The Hospice of the Good Shepherd in Backford.

Rhys Williams

Master of Arts

Born in Holyhead, Rhys Williams has lived in Chester for many years, and has made a uniquely sustained and outstanding contribution to Archaeology in Cheshire.

A Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries and Vice-President of Chester Archaeological Society, Rhys began his architectural career after World War II with the Ministry of Public Buildings and Works in London and in 1967 entered his long and distinguished service with Cheshire County Council, where he specialised in conservation and the built environment. He was appointed Cheshire’s County Archaeologist a few years later, and his archaeological discoveries in Cheshire included pioneering, unique research in landscape history, prehistoric buildings and aerial archaeology. The latter work turned out to be ground-breaking.

A great deal of time was devoted to scanning and photographing Cheshire from the air, and this helped uncover the region’s Medieval landscape, Roman roads and Bronze Age burial sites. Some sites first recorded from the air have subsequently been designated scheduled monuments to reflect their national importance. A Vicars Cross resident, Rhys has contributed his landscape history and archaeology knowledge to the University of Chester’s programmes.