University of Northampton give three honorary awards at Winter Graduations

Date 12.11.2015

Dai Powell, Rex Firkin and Roy Fairweather took to the stage at the Royal and Derngate Theatre over the course of the weekend to receive their honours.

Mr Dai Powell, Chief Executive of Hackney Community Transport was awarded an Honorary Doctorate during the Saturday Graduation ceremony for his unique and exceptional personal achievements in leading the development of social enterprise by Professor Simon Denny.

Speaking about his honorary doctorate he said: “I’m very chuffed, I’m very excited. I don’t have any connections with Northampton town, apart from my shoes are made here, that’s all – but it’s your values. For me to be asked by this University is important because of its understanding of social enterprise. The university is at the forefront of social enterprise and that’s why it is so nice to be invited.”

Veteran Producer and Director Rex Firkin, is responsible for many TV classics, including the original Upstairs, Downstairs, but started his career studying stage design at the Royal and Derngate theatre in 1940s with Osborne Robinson.  Now in his late 80’s, Rex took to the stage once more to receive his Honorary Fellowship during Sunday’s ceremony.

Speaking about his Honorary Fellowship Rex said: “The thing that really pleases me is that this award is for my services to TV, which is what I have spent most of my life doing. My time in Northampton was enormous preparation for my future life in broadcasting. I’m really very pleased to be awarded this honorary fellowship by the University of Northampton.”

Roy Fairweather, a Visiting Fellow in the School of Science and Technology and Managing Director of Campus Veolia, which provides training and development in the UK for leading environmental services company, Veolia Environment, has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate for his work in the field of Wastes Management.  Roy has co-authored and published internationally recognised papers on Waste Management themes, in his role as Visiting Fellow with the University of Northampton; he is working with PhD students on West African waste issues and is helping the School of Science and Technology in the development of wastes expertise in the Middle East.

Roy said: “When I was growing up in the 1970s in a small town in the middle of Scotland, there were not a lot of chances to go to university. It’s only in later life that I have found the opportunities opening up to do that. My work helping mature students develop is a fantastic personal achievement and being recognised for that work today is unbelievable. It’s the proudest moment of my life.

“The whole experience today has been fantastic; the students have worked so hard to get here and their parents, family and friends have supported them through their course.  These young people are the future.

“The University has some great programmes and resources, but most of all it has fantastic people. They have people who care, support, coax and push to get the best out of students. Seeing everyone today dressed up for graduation is great, everyone is smiling and there is always a great feeling about the University of Northampton, which is why I like coming here.”