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Tomorrow’s World presenter and Leicester Tigers chairman among outstanding individuals honoured by University of Leicester

23 January 2018 Leicester, University of

Graduation ceremonies on 25 and 26 January recognise five prominent Leicester and Leicestershire personalities

Five outstanding individuals whose achievements have brought attention to the life and work of Leicester and Leicestershire are to be honoured.

The University of Leicester will bestow honorary degrees upon five public figures of local, national and international renown at its graduation ceremonies on 25 and 26 January at De Montfort Hall, before an audience of graduating students and their families.

They include a presenter of the much-loved children’s TV show Multi-Coloured Swap Shop and science and technology programme Tomorrow’s World, Maggie Philbin OBE; Peter Tom, Executive Chairman of construction materials company Breedon Group plc and Chairman of Leicester Rugby Football Club, known better as Leicester Tigers; the writer and novelist Nina Stibbe, whose works which include Love, Nina and Man at the Helm feature Leicestershire; Andrew Bailey, the Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority and a former Deputy Governor of the Bank of England; and dedicated outreach worker Patrick Harris, whose work with homeless charity The Bridge stands as an exemplar of its good work.

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, Professor Paul Boyle, said: “Leicester has played a pivotal role in the lives of all our honorands this year and in celebrating their successes we are honouring the great work they have done that has reflected well upon our city and county.

“They are ideal candidates to inspire our graduands as they celebrate their own achievements and take the next step towards their ambitions.”

Honorands’ graduation ceremony times and press quotes follow below:

Thursday 25 January, 11am

Maggie Philbin – Doctor of Science

Press comment: “It’s a real honour to accept this honorary degree in my home city. As a teenager I had some memorable nights out on the campus watching live bands. Later on, when working for Tomorrow’s World I felt especially proud when we covered stories featuring the work of scientists and engineers from the University. So this has a very real resonance for me. My sister will be watching and I know my lovely Mum and Dad would have been very, very proud too.”

Biography: Maggie Philbin grew up in Leicester and was educated at the Evington Hall Convent School. She graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in English and Drama after which she responded to an advertisement in The Stage and was offered the job of co-presenter on Multi-Coloured Swap Shop. Her daughter, Rose, is named after the Swap Shop editor who gambled on a young student being able to handle the BBC’s first Saturday morning show.

Maggie has since worked in radio and television for over 30 years on a wide range of science, medical and technology programmes. She is President of the Institute of Engineering Designers and co-founder and CEO of TeenTech CIC, an award winning organisation helping young people, their parents and teachers understand more about the real opportunities in Science, Technology and Engineering. In 2016 Maggie was named as the Most Influential Woman in UKIT by Computer Weekly Magazine and was also named as 2016 Digital Leader of the Year for her work with TeenTech.

Maggie is patron of the Daphne Jackson Trust which helps scientists, engineers and technologists return to their careers and she is also patron of the Council of Professors and Heads of Computing. Maggie supports the community where she grew up as patron of VASL (Voluntary Action South Leicestershire).

Peter Tom – Doctor of Laws

Press comment: Peter Tom, executive chairman of Breedon Group plc and chairman of Leicester Tigers, today expressed his gratitude to the Senate and Council of University of Leicester for their generous conferral of an honorary doctorate in recognition of his contribution to the worlds of business and sport in Leicestershire.

Receiving the award from Lord Grocott, the university’s chancellor, Mr Tom said: “Leicestershire is one of the economic powerhouses of the UK, with some of the country’s most energetic and flourishing businesses and an outstanding commercial infrastructure.  It has also produced some of Britain’s greatest competitive sports people. 

“I have been proud to be part of this fantastic community for more than 70 years and during that time it has been my privilege to lead not only two of its most successful companies, but also one of its greatest sporting teams.

“So, on behalf of all the exceptional people I have worked with – and played with – over the years, I am delighted and honoured to accept this honour.”

Biography: Peter Tom is the Executive Chairman of a construction materials company, Breedon Group plc and Chairman of Leicester Rugby Football Club, which we know better as Leicester Tigers.

Peter lives in Guernsey with his wife Kay, and has 4 children Saffron, Layla, Joseph & Georgia, and 4 grandchildren Clover, Poppy, Archie & Ned.

Born in Cornwall, Peter came to Leicester in 1956 as a school leaver to work in the Leicestershire company, Bardon Hill Quarries Ltd. Peter moved through the ranks at the Bardon Group, becoming Managing Director in 1977 and Chief Executive in 1985.

Peter and colleague, Simon Vivian, went on to acquire the failing Breedon Holdings Limited. Breedon Group, as it is known today, is now the largest independent construction materials company in the UK. It operates the country’s largest cement plant and two cement import terminals. It has 60 quarries, 26 asphalt plants, around 200 ready mixed concrete and mortar facilities and three concrete block plants. Breedon employs 2,300 nationwide.

During the 1960s, Peter made 130 appearances for Leicester Tigers as a lock forward and also represented Leicestershire and the Midland Counties. Playing for the Tigers in the ’60s was a very different experience to the game of rugby as it is played today.

In recognition of his outstanding work in sport and in business Peter Tom was awarded the CBE in 2006.

Thursday 25 January, 3pm

Nina Stibbe – Doctor of Letters

Press comment: “To be recognised by the University of Leicester, in my hometown, in the centenary year of women first getting the vote is the biggest honour of my life. I am absolutely thrilled.”

Biography: Nina Stibbe was born and grew up with three siblings in Leicester. After spells working in a nursing home and as a dental nurse, she left Leicester to work as a nanny in London.

Nina attended Thames Polytechnic (now the University of Greenwich), graduating with a degree in Humanities in 1987. She had a career in academic book publishing before getting her first book deal in 2012 – at the age of 50. She now lives in Cornwall with her partner and two teenage children.

Nina is the author of Love, Nina – winner of the Non-Fiction Book of the Year Award at the National Book Awards 2014 and shortlisted for Waterstones Book of the Year. The book was BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week upon publication and was adapted into a 5-part series for BBC television which aired in 2016. Love, Nina was based upon letters written to her sister back in Leicestershire detailing her experiences of mingling with literary figures such as Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller, Claire Tomalin and Michael Frayn during her time as a nanny in London. Her novels Man at the Helm and Paradise Lodge were adapted for serialisation on BBC Radio 4 and shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction. Her latest book An Almost Perfect Christmas – a collection of stories and articles – was published in December 2017. She is currently working on the third of her ‘Vogel’ novels, which are all set in Leicester.

Friday 26th January, 11am

Andrew Bailey – Doctor of Laws

Press comment: “It is a great pleasure to be awarded an honorary degree by the University of Leicester. Leicester is my hometown and I went to school at what was then Wyggeston Boys, close neighbours of the University. It is very encouraging to see the University thriving.

Biography: Andrew Bailey was born in Leicester and educated at Wyggeston Boys’ Grammar School and Queen’s College, Cambridge. After university, he became a research officer at the London School of Economics before joining the Bank of England in 1985.

Andrew worked at the Bank in a number of areas, most recently as Deputy Governor for Banking Services and Chief Cashier, as well as Head of the Bank’s Special Resolution Unit (SRU). Previous roles include Governor’s Private Secretary, and Head of the International Economic Analysis Division in Monetary Analysis.

While retaining his role as Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Andrew joined the Financial Services Authority in April 2011 as Deputy Head of the Prudential Business Unit and Director of UK Banks and Building Societies. In July 2012, Andrew became Managing Director of the Prudential Business Unit, with responsibility for the prudential supervision of banks, investment banks and insurance companies.

Andrew is now an executive FCA Board member and Chief Executive. Prior to becoming the FCA’s Chief Executive in July 2016, Andrew Bailey was Deputy Governor for Prudential Regulation and Chief Executive Officer of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA). He is also a member of the Prudential Regulation Committee and the Financial Policy Committee.

Friday 26 January, 3pm

Patrick Harris – Doctor of Laws

Press comment: “I’ve never had anything like this before and it came as quite a shock, to be honest.

“I feel very honoured that people appreciate the work that I’m doing.

“I would like to thank my Board, the local organisations and everybody that has supported me and continues to fund the great work that we do. I would especially like to thank my wife Barbara, who has supported me throughout.”

Biography: Patrick Harris was born in Leicester and grew up in Highfields along with five siblings. In 1999 he found himself to be homeless for almost half a year and during that time, he attended a hostel where he met a manager of Christian faith who inspired him to join an Alpha course. He began to explore Christianity in more detail.

In 2010, divine intervention encouraged Patrick to walk into the Methodist Church on Bishop Street where the homeless charity, The Bridge, was based. Patrick engaged with the homeless people visiting the charity and became a regular volunteer. He is now Team Leader and Outreach Worker for The Bridge, a role which involves visiting the homeless people across the city from 3.30am onwards and informing them about services they can access through the charity including, breakfast provision, medical help and accommodation support.

Patrick believes that his personal experience with homelessness helps him in this role because he knows first-hand how isolating it can feel without the right support. He finds his work at The Bridge fulfilling because the heart of its mission is to provide support and guidance to the homeless so that they can get their lives back on track. Some of Patrick’s favourite working moments have been when previously homeless people return to the charity to tell how they’ve turned their lives around.

Attached files

  • Peter Tom


  • Maggie Philbin


  • Nina Stibbe


  • Patrick Harris


  • Andrew Bailey


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