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Fabulous five to receive Honorary Degrees

29 October 2008 @TeesUniNews


Middlesbrough-born actress Thelma Barlow is one of five people due to receive an Honorary Degree in November.

She will receive an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the University’s Chancellor, Lord Sawyer of Darlington, in a special ceremony at Middlesbrough Town Hall on Friday 21 November.

Street life Thelma is fondly remembered throughout the UK for her role as Mavis Riley in Coronation Street, whom she played for nearly 2,000 episodes over 26 years. Her next major role after Coronation Street was Dolly Bellfield in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies, a role that was written specifically her.

Thelma has also appeared in Fat Friends, The Royal, Marple and Midsommer Murders. Last year she appeared as the villainous Lady Thaw in Doctor Who and in 2005 she appeared in her first film Mrs Henderson Presents and was nominated for Most Promising Newcomer in the British Independent Film Awards.

Honorary Degrees will also be awarded to:

  • Alan Hinkes OBE - Alan was born in Northallerton and is an internationally-renowned extreme altitude mountaineer. He achieved fame as the first Briton ever to successfully climb all 14 of the world's highest mountains. Alan will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Professional Studies.
  • Margaret Fay OBE - Margaret is Chairman of the Regional Development Agency One NorthEast. Before joining One NorthEast, she had a 22-year career with Tyne Tees Television, including six years as Managing Director. Margaret, a former member of the University’s Board of Governors, will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws.
  • Professor Eric Thomas - Eric was born in Hartlepool. Following a period as Dean of the Medical School at Southampton University, he progressed to the role of Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, becoming one of the country's best-known and most-influential Vice-Chancellors. He will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Science.
  • Steve Penrose - United States-based Steve Penrose graduated in computer science from the University’s predecessor, Teesside Polytechnic, in the 70s and has achieved the position of Senior Vice-President in ADP. The company has over 24,000 staff and is one of the largest providers of integrated computing and business outsourcing companies in the world. Steve will be awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Business Administration.