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University of Bradford to honour six at graduation ceremonies


A stand-up comedian, TV presenter, pioneering hand surgeon and Bradford-based champions of some of the most vulnerable people are among those to be honoured at the University of Bradford's graduations next week.

The ceremonies take place next Wednesday and Thursday, December 2 and 3, in the Great Hall of the city campus, where newly-appointed Chancellor Kate Swann will present five honorary degrees and an honorary fellowship.

Receiving honorary degrees from the University will be:

Francesca Martinez, Doctor of the University, for her charitable work and support for disability issues.

Professor Simon Kay, Doctor of Science, for his pioneering contribution to the development of hand surgery.

Professor Audrey Paterson OBE, doctor of Health, for her contribution to the development of radiography education.

Kate Bellingham, Doctor of Engineering, for her contribution to STEM education and championing women’s opportunities in engineering.

John Kirby, Doctor of the University, for his contribution to the alleviation of poverty and problem debt.

Receiving an honorary fellowship will be John Salmon, for his contribution to social justice and support of immigrants and refugees, particularly the provision of legal support.

Professor Brian Cantor, Vice-Chancellor of the University, said: “The University of Bradford’s honorary graduates and fellows are all outstanding individuals. They are true inspirations, not only for their work, but for their contributions to society as a whole. I am honoured to welcome them to the University of Bradford and hope their accomplishments inspire our graduates to strive for greatness too.”

Note: if you would like to arrange an interview with any of the honorary graduates please contact the communications team on 01274 236030.

Biographical notes:

Francesca Martinez, Doctor of the University

Francesca is a stand-up comedian, speaker, actor, and author, with her book, What the **** is Normal?!, receiving critical acclaim. She has turned her experiences of living with mild cerebral palsy, or being a bit ‘wobbly’ as she describes it, into award-winning comedy. She is the first female comedian to win the prestigious Daily Telegraph Open Mic Award at the Edinburgh International Festival and has performed sell-out shows and given inspirational talks around the world. Francesca uses her public profile to raise issues about disability and human rights and was nominated ‘Hero of the Year’ at the European Diversity Awards (2014).

Professor Simon Kay, Doctor of Science

Simon trained as a plastic surgeon in the UK and Australia, before spending a year at the Hand and Microsurgery service in Kentucky, USA. Simon then joined Leeds Teaching Hospitals, founding a Children’s Hand Surgery Service and a Microsurgery Service.

Simon’s work centres on encouraging the emerging speciality of Hand Surgery. He secured funding for the first National Training Posts and initiated and chaired the European Courses in Hand Surgery. He was Editor of the British Journal of Plastic Surgery, and President of both the Plastic Surgery and the Hand Surgery speciality organisations. In 2013 he was awarded the prestigious Health Service Journal ‘Clinical Leader of the Year’ Award. He continues to teach, and has developed enduring clinical and research links with the University of Umeå in Sweden. He recently performed the UK’s first hand transplant.

Professor Audrey Paterson OBE, Doctor of Health

Audrey trained as a diagnostic radiographer at the Bromley Hospital School of Radiography in

1969, before moving into education and becoming a Council Member of the Society of Radiographers, later on becoming its President. Whilst leading the profession into the higher education sector, she also trained and practised as an ultrasonographer.

In 1990 she established Canterbury Christ Church University’s first degree in diagnostic radiography, and was awarded the Gold Medal of the Society of Radiographers in 1995. In 2002 she was made a Professor of Radiography and in 2003 became the Director of Professional Policy for the Society and College of Radiographers, a position she kept until retiring in 2014, but not before receiving her OBE in 2011.

Kate Bellingham, Doctor of Engineering

Kate is a Physics graduate, TV presenter, engineer and champion for girls’ opportunities in engineering. Known to TV audiences as a presenter on BBC’s Tomorrow’s World and ITV’s Big Bang, she has not only inspired millions of viewers, but also youngsters in the classroom - retraining to be a classroom maths and physics teacher when her own family were young. Her passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has seen her become National STEM Careers Co-ordinator for the Department for Children, Schools and Families, President of the national educational charity Young Engineers, and Fellow of the Women’s Engineering Society (WES).

John Kirkby, Doctor of the University

John Kirkby is the Bradford-born Founder and International Director of Christians Against Poverty (CAP), with its headquarters in Bradford.

Having experienced financial hardship himself, John sought to use his expertise and knowledge to help those in poverty and with problem debt. With 17 years of working within the consumer finance industry, John was able to transfer his management experience and build CAP, first in Bradford, then nationally and internationally.

Thousands of people have been helped and lives transformed as a result of CAP’s work and John’s commitment to helping others; tackling contributory issues such as unemployment; and developing initiatives such as their free money management course.

John Salmon, Honorary Fellow

John developed a special interest in matters connected with Bradford’s growing population of ethnic minorities whilst working as a reporter for the Telegraph and Argus from 1971 to 1983. After spending a year in India, John returned to Bradford where he began working for the Bradford Law Centre. Now employed there for 30 years and specialising in Immigration and Asylum Law, John continues to advise and represent clients at tribunals across an ever-increasing number of ethnic groups.