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  • Ceremony 7 – 10.30am

Dr Dawn Heather Gibbins (Wild) MBE will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to local business.

From picking peaches barefoot in France as a young carefree teenager to becoming a passionate entrepreneur and visionary speaker,Dawn Heather Wild has had a varied working life.  Having spent 30 years sojourn as the leader of a global environmental transformation company with a turnover reaching £50m, she has collected many accolades along the way, including an MBE and the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year award – as well as being a proud mother to two daughters.

Not many people have the energy to develop a start-up business and build it into an international company – with a multi-million pound turnover and offices touching all corners of the globe – but for the woman never knowingly seen in grey, business became her passion. 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 a harmonic blend of Dawn’s commercial acumen with her passion for healthy living – and commitment to social transformation, ethical business ventures and ‘putting something back’. A keen natural alternative practitioner, Dawn sees that a transformational, uncluttered life philosophy supports a holistic approach to UK home, education and business life – helping to generate energised, vibrant, natural environments in which to live, learn and work – with the mission of making Britain a healthy, happy nation.

She has an honorary DBA, 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).

She said: “Being honoured with a Doctorate by the University of Chester in the county where I was born and raised and have lived and worked all my life is such a blessing to my heart and soul.” 

Ceremony 8 – 2.45pm

Professor Paul Cosford will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to public health.

Professor Paul Cosford is 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 leads the global public health functions for Public Health England and, as Medical Director, leads 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.

During his tenure at Public Health England Paul has led the organisation’s response to significant emergencies, including contaminated intravenous nutrition for neonates in 2014, the West African Ebola outbreak of 2014-15, Zika virus in 2016, environmental contamination resulting from the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017 and Novichok poisonings in Salisbury in 2018. He was responsible for the joint Public Health England and NHS England TB control strategy, which has resulted in a 40% reduction in new cases of TB in England since 2013.

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. These included tobacco and obesity control, the health system’s response to pandemic flu, and the reduction of healthcare associated infections. 

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 is 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 has 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.

He said: “I feel hugely privileged to receive an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Chester. I have watched the University develop with great interest, and admire its ability both to grow its research footprint and promote active student engagement with the local community.  I am proud to be associated with the University of Chester.”

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