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Honorary fellowships for North Wales Olympians and National Poet of Wales

Honorary fellows

October 31 2012

London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Tom James is among Glyndŵr University's latest honorary fellows.

Rower Tom, along with Paralympic bronze medallist Beverley Jones, has recognised by the Wrexham university for his contribution to Britain’s home games this summer.

Royal Wedding composer Professor Paul Mealor, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke and David Watkins, the only player to captain the British and Irish Lions Rugby Union team and the Great Britain Rugby League team, are also being honoured at the university’s annual awards ceremony.

Anglesey-born Judge Philip Hughes, Welsh actor Lindsay Evans and Malcolm Thomas, Director of Membership and Regions of NFU UK complete the university’s list of honorary fellows for this year.

The fellows will collect their awards across six ceremonies in the William Aston Hall, Wrexham, from Wednesday 31 October to Friday 2 November.

Tom, Dai and Professor Mealor were all presented to the Chancellor as honorary fellows today. 

Professor Michael Scott, Vice-Chancellor of Glyndŵr University, said: “The purpose of the honorary fellowship awards is the same for us every year – to recognise outstanding contributions which individuals have made to the community which we support here in North Wales.

"Our Olympians made us tremendously proud over the summer and are fantastic ambassadors for the area, just as all of our other fellows are for Wales as a whole.

"We are delighted to welcome them as honorary fellows of Glyndŵr University."

Hundreds of graduates will receive their degrees at the university at one of six ceremonies being held this week.

Catch up with the latest pictures from the ceremonies as they happen on the university's Facebook page.

Honorary fellows

Gillian Clarke is one of the most significant figures in poetry in the UK and worldwide today and a familiar name to many English Literature students. This contribution to literature was recognised in 2010 when she was awarded the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. Gillian has been National Poet of Wales since 2008 and became a member of the Gorsedd at the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham in 2011. She is resident author of Tŷ Newydd, the writers´ centre in Llanystumdwy, Gwynedd, which she co-founded in 1990. Gillian Clarke has been described as one of Wales’ “best-selling exports” and a significant ambassador for Welsh literature and culture worldwide. Under the auspices of the British Council Gillian has visited such places as Kerala and Mexico sharing the transforming power of poetry with the world.

Lindsay Evans - born in Clydach in the Swansea Valley, Lindsay Evans was educated at University College, Swansea and Oxford. His teaching career encompassed Llandovery College, Bangor Normal College and Cartrefle College, where he was head of Drama. During his acting career he appeared in many plays, in theatre, on the radio and in television, including Brad and Excelsior by Saunders Lewis as well as the soap operas Coleg and Pobl y Cwm. He presented popular television series on holidays and the stately homes of Wales, on which he has written extensively. He is an accomplished author and script writer. He also produced Antigone for the National Eisteddfod in Wrexham in 1977. He is a member of the Council of The Arts Fund. 

His Honour Judge Philip Hughes was born in Anglesey in 1947 and educated at Wrekin College, Shropshire. He was called to the Bar at Gray’s Inn in 1971 and practised in London and Chester, where he specialised in Crime, Family and Civil law. During his distinguished career he has held a number of senior appointments including Head of Chambers; Assistant Boundary Commissioner for Wales and Recorder. He became a Circuit Judge in 1998 and was a Designated Family Judge between 2000 and 2007. He is currently the Diversity and Community Relations Judge for North Wales and the Liaison Judge for Powys. He was elected to the National Committee of the Council of Her Majesty’s Circuit Judges. In 2008 he joined the Board of Governors of Glyndŵr University, from which he retired in 2011.

Tom James is one of the stars of the 2012 London Olympics, winning a gold medal in rowing. This was his second Olympic gold having also won in the Beijing Games of 2008. Tom grew up in Wrexham and his rowing career started on the River Dee. He rowed for Cambridge in the University Boat Race four times between 2003 and 2007, and, as President, led his crew to victory in 2007. He has represented Great Britain in the Rowing World Cup, the World Championships and three Olympic Games. Tom’s success at the London Games led to a post box being painted gold in Wrexham and his face appearing on a Royal Mail postage stamp. He was awarded the MBE in 2009. 

Beverley Jones has always had a great interest in sports despite being affected by Cerebral Palsy since birth. After trying Taekwando and cricket, she finally settled on athletics and won four gold medals in the CP European Athletics Championships in 1999. More medals came in the IPC European Championships, the CP World Championships and the IPC World Championships. She also won a bronze medal for Wales in the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne. She was selected to represent Great Britain at the Sydney Paralympic Games in 2000, narrowly missing out on a medal, a feat repeated at the Athens and Beijing Games. Olympic success finally came in 2012 when she won the bronze medal at the London Olympics in the discuss.

Paul Mealor has been described as, ‘the most important composer to have emerged in Welsh choral music since William Mathias’. He became the first classical composer to hold both the classical and pop chart number ones at the same time with his piece for the Military Wives Choir. Born in St Asaph, Paul Mealor studied composition privately as a boy with William Mathias and later at the University of York and in Copenhagen. He is now Professor of Composition at the University of Aberdeen. In July 2011 Paul was signed by Decca Records – one of only a handful of composers to have been taken on by a major record label and his work was performed at the Royal Wedding Ceremony in June 2012.

Malcolm Thomas was appointed Director of National Farmers Union Cymru in 1999 and in 2008 became Director of Membership and Regions of NFU UK, working from the NFU Headquarters at Stoneleigh, Warwickshire. He was previously the Deputy Director and Head of Policy in NFU Cymru for ten years. Malcolm has vast experience within the agricultural industry having been Head of Agriculture and European Commodity Policy within the Welsh Office in Cardiff. He was born and bred on a dairy farm in Llangynog, Carmarthen and has since returned with his family to his roots. He is a Member and past Chair of the Corporate Board of Coleg Sir Gâr and a member of CBI Wales. He was a governor of Glyndŵr University until June 2011. He was awarded an MBE for services to agriculture in 2011.

David Watkins is the only player to captain both the British and Irish Lions Rugby Union team and the Great Britain Rugby League team. David was born in Blaina in South Wales and played for Wales between 1963 and 1967 earning 21 caps and captained Wales on three occasions. In 1967, he decided to switch codes and was signed by Salford for a record fee. There he broke the world record, which still stands, for the longest scoring-run across 92 consecutive rugby league matches. He finished his rugby league playing career in 1980 and became managing director of the Cardiff City Blue Dragons Rugby League Club. In 2006 David was installed as a patron of the Welsh Rugby League at a ceremony held in the National Assembly and in 2009 he took over the position of President of the Crusaders.

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