Jonathan Church and William Church awarded Honorary Fellowships

Date 16.11.2015

The University of Northampton is pleased to have awarded Jonathan Church and William Church of Joseph Cheaney & Sons with Honorary Fellowships at this year’s Summer Graduation Ceremonies.

Both Jonathan and William are part of the locally renowned Church family, who established the footwear brand, Church’s. They were very much part of Church’s footwear until 2009 when they conducted a management buy-out of the brand Joseph Cheaney & Sons from Church & Co, who by this time was a wholly owned subsidiary of Prada.

Having been manufacturing quality shoes since 1886, Joseph Cheaney & Sons continues to go from strength to strength and remains fully committed to producing high quality footwear entirely Made in England (Desborough, Northamptonshire) with several stores in London, including the prestigious Jermyn Street.

Jonathan’s original contact with the University of Northampton was via the Leslie Church Award (a Church family fund) of which Jonathan oversees. The fund is used to support second year Fashion students who are taking the Footwear pathway and consists of an annual footwear competition, factory tour and presentation of work to Jonathan.

William has fully supported the development of the BA (Hons) Fashion, Textiles, Footwear and Accessories – Footwear pathway. He has arranged work placements and factory tours and competitions whilst at both Church’s and Cheaney’s. He has also given valuable advice regarding the purchase of machinery for the new footwear provision at the University of Northampton.

Jonathan said: “I think it’s important that graduates come with the necessary skills, such as literacy, which should never be under estimated and also having IT skills is key in this day and age. I was honoured to find out that I was to receive a fellowship from the University of Northampton because of the association we have with the footwear students and I have lived in the county most of my life.”

William said: “Graduates need a mix of attributes, but I would cite the ability to communicate as key. When you come into a business you interact with a lot of people, whether it is suppliers, customers, colleagues at all levels so it is essential. I was surprised when I found out about the honorary award, but being synonymous with the footwear industry and Northampton, it really is a great honour for me which I am very grateful.”

Professor Nick Petford, Vice Chancellor of the University of Northampton, commented: “In addition to celebrating the outstanding achievements of the graduating class of summer 2015, we are also recognising high profile individuals who have made a positive impact on others. The recipients of these honorary awards will inspire our graduates as they begin the next exciting stage in their lives, making their own mark on the world.”​