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Honorary award recipients for 2019

28 Aug 2019 9:00AM

The University has announced who will be receiving honorary awards at graduation ceremonies in October.

Honorary awards recognise notable contributions to the educational or cultural well-being of society, in business, industry, commerce or enterprise, for academic distinction, for public or community service or an exceptional contribution to the University.

Seven individuals will receive awards including internationally-acclaimed performers, those in performing arts, the charity sector and one of the founding fathers of the UK games industry.

Singer, songwriter and producer, Nik Kershaw, grew up and spent his formative years in Ipswich, where he embarked on his early musical adventures.

He rose to fame in the mid-80s, achieving international success and multi-platinum album sales and performing at events such as Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in July 1985.

He has worked with artists including Cliff Richard, Bonnie Tyler, Lulu, Ronan Keating, Jason Donovan, Gary Barlow, Sia, Imogen Heap and Elton John. He penned and co-produced the ubiquitous “The one and only” for Chesney Hawkes.

Nik Kershaw has attracted accolades from such legends as Eric Clapton and Miles Davis and has been nominated for three Ivor Novello and four Brit Awards. Elton John famously described him as “the best songwriter of his generation”.

He is currently working on his 9th album and lives near Sudbury with his wife Sarah and their two children.

Nik will receive an honorary doctorate and said, “I was surprised, humbled and delighted to receive the invitation from the University of Suffolk. If only my Grammar School careers teacher could see me now.”

West-End and Broadway star Kerry Ellis will be awarded with an honorary fellowship.

Kerry, who was born and raised in Suffolk, achieved chart topping success as a recording artist signed to Universal Decca with her debut album- Anthems. Kerry originated the role of Meat, in Queen’s We Will Rock You and was the first British Elphaba in the worldwide smash, Wicked, for which she won the 2008 Award for ‘Best Takeover in a Role’.

Her other leading role credits include Nancy in Oliver!, Eliza Doolittle My Fair Lady, Ellen in Miss

Saigon and Fantine in Les Miserables.

Kerry said, “I’m delighted to be returning home to my roots in Suffolk to be part of the honorary awards. Being celebrated for a career I adore is so wonderful and I’m truly grateful.”

Ian Livingstone CBE is regarded as one of the founding fathers of the UK games industry and will be presented with an honorary doctorate at the graduation ceremonies. He co-founded iconic games company Games Workshop with Steve Jackson in 1975, launching Dungeons & Dragons in Europe and later Warhammer.

In 1982, he co-authored The Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the first interactive gamebook in the Fighting Fantasy series which has sold almost 20 million copies worldwide. He wrote 15 of the titles, including City of Thieves, Forest of Doom and Deathtrap Dungeon.

Whilst serving as Executive Chairman of Eidos plc, he launched global video games blockbusters including Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.

He has been awarded a BAFTA Special Award for his contribution to the video games industry and said of his honorary award, “I believe the arts and sciences should no longer be a question of either/or and must be brought together to encourage creativity and innovation. Creativity is a core strength of the UK and gives us an edge as a nation. I’m delighted that the University of Suffolk offers both arts courses and a BSc course in Computer Games programming. Not only is programming a transferable skill, it is an essential skill for the 21st century to enable digital creativity."

Fred Langford will be recognised for his work at the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) with an honorary doctorate.  The IWF is an international charity, which combats child sexual abuse images on the internet, where he has worked for 15 years. He is becoming an internationally respected authority on cybersecurity, internet policy, child protection, online crime prevention and effective regulation.

Fred serves on a number of boards including the Video Standards Council, UK Council for Internet Safety, and for the National Crime Agency, Interpol and the Home Office. Fred was a founding director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, is president of INHOPE, and a former Trustee of the Marie Collins Foundation and Commonwealth Cybercrime Initiative.

Fred was born and raised in Suffolk and said, “This is a really special. I have worked for many years to protect the victims of online child sexual abuse and now have the opportunity to share what I’ve learned around the world to help others from many sectors, cultures and countries to develop their own responses to this horrendous crime. It is a privilege to have my work acknowledged in this way, especially from the University of Suffolk – the county in which I was born and raised.”

Fellow charity worker, Rebecca Crerar, will be recognised for her work as Suffolk Refugee Support Manager with an honorary fellowship

Rebecca started working with asylum seekers and refugees in Suffolk in 2000 in her role supporting asylum seekers into accommodation around the UK whilst they waited for their claims to be decided.

Her passion for helping asylum seekers and refugees to recover from horrific circumstances and to rebuild lives in the UK continued in 2005, when she became the Volunteer Coordinator of the then small independent charity, Suffolk Refugee Support.

Since 2005, she has taken over the leadership of the charity and has enabled several thousand refugees and asylum seekers to gain vital help in the form of advice, English lessons, training and emotional support.  The charity has 20 mostly part time staff and over 80 volunteers. Rebecca has successfully secured over £3.5 million in grants from a variety of funders.

Rebecca has been involved in national, regional and local planning for refugees and has recently been awarded, along with five other Suffolk women, the High Sheriff’s Inspiring Leader Award 2019.

Rebecca said, “I am honoured and thrilled to be receiving an honorary fellowship of the University of Suffolk. I am proud to live and work in this amazing county. I am accepting this award on behalf of the many refugees who have fought against unimaginable adversity to make this county their home; whilst remembering the many others who have lost their lives in the conflicts of the world.”

For the past 19 years, Sarah Holmes has been the Chief Executive of the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.  Sarah will be recognised for her contribution to the Arts by being awarded an honorary doctorate.

Sarah began her career in her native New Zealand at Downstage Theatre, Wellington before moving to the UK in 1980 seeking further opportunities in the British theatre industry. She has worked in every aspect of theatre management – as a stage manager, production manager, administrator, head of marketing and general manager – in a career that has taken her from London to North Wales and on tour up and down the country.

Since becoming the Chief Executive of the New Wolsey Theatre in 2000, Sarah has been curating a programme combining the highest quality touring and home-grown work in a theatre designed to be appealing and accessible to all. In recognition of the breadth and success of this work Sarah was one of the few regional producers to be named in The Stage’s Top 100 list of the most influential figures in British Theatre. 

She said, “As someone who never undertook higher education, I am particularly thrilled to be awarded with an honorary doctorate – at last I get a picture of me in gown and mortar board along with the rest of my family! I believe this delightful honour is a recognition of the close ties between the University and the New Wolsey Theatre, but also of the importance of arts and culture in a full and rounded education. At a time when the position of the creative arts within the core curricula is under increasing threat, or disappearing altogether, such recognition is extremely welcome.  A.I. is here and the robots are coming, but they won’t be able to paint, write songs, make plays or dance like we can. Soon it will be our creativity on all fronts that sets us apart from the artificially intelligent, and nurturing imagination and creativity must be at the heart of any successful education system.” 

Daemmon Reeve will be receiving an honorary doctorate at the graduation ceremony in Bury St Edmunds.

Daemmon joined Treatt in Bury St Edmunds, a global flavour and fragrance ingredients manufacturer as a Laboratory Assistant in 1991.

Over the course of his career, he gained extensive industry experience and knowledge from his time in our technical, operational, sales and purchasing departments. In July 2010, he was appointed CEO of Treatt USA and became Group CEO in 2012. A passionate advocate for employee engagement and the wider community, Daemmon is responsible for helping to create the cultural environment that will deliver financial success.

Daemmon said, “I am deeply honoured to receive this award. In my mind it’s an award for all of my colleagues at Treatt who drive the culture and success of our growing global business.”

The honorary awards will be presented during graduation ceremonies celebrating the successes of students from the University being held across Suffolk and in Great Yarmouth between 4 -17 October 2019.


University of Suffolk Press Office
T: 01473 338476