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  • Ceremony 9 - 9.30am
  • Meredydd David OBE, DL will receive an honorary degree of 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.

He 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.

He said: “It is an amazing honour and a complete surprise to have been awarded an honorary doctorate from such an excellent and well respected university. To attend the ceremony at the beautiful cathedral in Chester with close family will be an emotional time for us. I have been fortunate throughout my life to have such a rewarding career in education working with great colleagues and enabling young people to achieve their potential, broaden their horizons and grow their ambition. This is exactly what the University achieves for its students too.” 

  • David Munt will receive an honorary degree of 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.

He said: “In many ways the real honour is in having been allowed to play a small part in the life and development of this wonderful University over the last 12 years. Meeting so many kind, intelligent and dedicated people has been a real pleasure. The speed and scope of change taking place at the University in recent years has been challenging to those involved but inspirational in its various successful outcomes.

“The offer of an honorary doctorate was a surprise and I thought undeserved but of course it is extremely special indeed to me and I am very proud to accept.”

Ceremony 10 – 11.45am

  • Inger Trevor-Barnston will receive an honorary degree of Master of Arts (MA) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the City of Chester as a Director of the Chester Mystery Plays.

Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Inger read Sociology and Anthropology at the city’s university, where she supported herself financially by working in the holidays as a stewardess for both SAS and Sterling Airways.

She took a job with East African Airways in Nairobi, where she met her future husband, Michael, who also worked out of Nairobi, but travelled much of the time in Central and West Africa for Massey Ferguson. They married in 1971 and moved to Leamington Spa and their first child, a daughter, was born in 1972. In 1973, the family moved to Lucerne, Switzerland, where Massey Ferguson opened an office and their second child, a son, was born in 1974.

Her husband continued to travel extensively worldwide and Inger was offered a job teaching English (in German) with the biggest Adult Education School – Migros through to 1982, when they returned to Chester. Her involvement in Chester, and indeed the Cheshire community, since 1982 has been multi-faceted.

Inger has been a staunch supporter of the Cheshire ‘Best Kept Village’ competition since 1984 and is still heavily involved. This is a local and national organisation in support of village life and, as a judge, she has criss-crossed the county for 34 years and continues to do so!

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.

Her involvement with Chester Cathedral started in 1994 with the ‘Building for Tomorrow’ Appeal, focusing on the nave and under floor heating and the new undercroft. Inger has been a Trustee of the Chester Cathedral Development Trust since 2010 and continues in this work.

NADFAS has featured strongly in her local contribution, being on the Tarporley Branch of the National Association for Fine and Decorative Arts from 1995 as Programme Secretary responsible for finding lecturers. Also representing NADFAS in London and completing her time as the North West Representative in 2003.

A major involvement for her has been her close association with ‘The Chester Mystery Plays’ in all the five cycles since 1998 and, as a Board Member, her main contribution has been the fundraising in support of the Chairman, Dr Jo Sykes.

Her unstinting support has covered the visits to Liverpool in 2008 for ‘The Second Coming’ during the European Capital of Culture celebrations. She is most appreciative of the support given over the years by Chester city councillors, representatives of the Cathedral and members of the University of Chester. With sadness, her term of office will come to an end in January 2019.

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.

In spite of the above she still has time to enjoy her four grandchildren, three Springer Spaniels, Bridge, travel and growing her roses.

She said: “The award of this Master of Arts degree given to me by the University of Chester is the pinnacle of my working life in Cheshire and reinforces my sense of belonging to this county.”

Ceremony 11 – 3.00pm

  • Ian Puleston-Davies will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to drama and the arts.

A familiar face on television screens over the years, Ian Puleston-Davies was born on a Welsh farm and was initially destined to follow in the family footsteps to live and work in Oakenholt, near Flint, North Wales. However – drama lessons in school and his roles as a founding member of the Flintshire Youth Theatre quickly diverted him from that route and he headed off to the bright lights of London to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After graduation, Ian embarked on a career in entertainment which ranged from the traditional (Shakespearean adaptations on the BBC alongside the greats) to the bizarre (street theatre in Covent Garden and tough gigs on the alternative comedy circuit alongside future thespians like Eddie Izzard, Ben Elton and Steve Coogan).

Like most in the acting profession, Ian has enjoyed exciting highs and devastating lows – with the lows often caused by his well-documented struggle with mental illness. Despite his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Ian has been consistently in demand for roles in repertory theatre, the West End, radio, television and film and his CV reveals a diversity of credits that reflect his great versatility of style.

Ironically, despite his comedic successes, Ian is best known for his roles as villain, hard-man or serial killer. His parents were frequently heard to request he play ‘a nice person’ so were thrilled when he landed a role as a Naval commander in the spooky film drama Ghostboat, playing opposite David Jason. Sadly for them, Ian’s character descended into psychosis which resulted in him shooting ‘Del Boy’ at the thrilling climax of the Easter screening in 2006! Many screen baddies followed and the most recent include tough-talking builder Owen in Coronation Street (2010-2015) the serial killer in Marcella (2016) and the chilling Frank in Sky’s high-profile drama Tin Star. Filmed mostly in Canada alongside Hollywood luminaries Tim Roth and Christina Hendricks, Tin Star not only confirmed Ian’s professional standing in the USA but also enabled his family to enjoy holidays in the spectacular Rockies. 

His next role is also a trans-Atlantic production and he plays Mr Pennyworth Snr in the brand new television series Pennyworth. Set in 1960s London and currently filming in the Warner Horizon studios, Pennyworth will explore the early life of Batman’s loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth and, incidentally, launch singer Paloma Faith’s acting debut… but Ian is staying characteristically tight-lipped about his character’s storyline. 

Happily for Ian’s parents, his most child-friendly creation is as the jovial King Thistle in the oft-repeated animated series Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom and Ian has been delighted to support children’s charities with personalised letters about ‘jelly floods’. In fact, charity work plays a huge role in Ian’s life and he has been frequently called upon to reprise popular roles to highlight campaigns or front charity events. He is particularly happy to hop on a motorbike to support Bill Smith Motor’s Distinguished Gentleman’s Ride Event on vintage and classic motorbikes to raise awareness and funds for prostate cancer research and men’s mental health and recently took part in their Charity Ride for Claire House.

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. 

There are inevitable quiet times in Ian’s profession – either waiting to be called on set or for the next production to start and he has used this ‘downtime’ to establish himself as a writer. 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.

Having lived in London for most of his adult life, Ian and his partner Sue headed north to bring up their family. Now settled in Hoole with daughter Maggie and son Charlie, Ian’s family are thrilled that his contribution to drama and the arts is to be recognised by an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from the University of Chester.

Ian Puleston-Davies said: “To be invited to receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (DLitt) from the University of Chester is one of the most gratifying roles that I have ever been given. As a native Welshman who grew up not far from here, it is particularly special to receive such recognition from the city university round the corner from where I now live. However, it is also quite daunting to be told that I am now at a time in my life when my contribution to drama and the arts is being recognised (inside every mature actor is the juvenile lead wondering what happened!) but I feel honoured by this great compliment and truly grateful to the University of Chester.”

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