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Honorary Fellowships for local figures

17 July 2014

Rachel Atkinson

Margaret O’Donoghue and Chris Kenny received prestigious awards from UCLan.

Two local figures have been rewarded for their contribution to the community with Honorary Fellowships from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

Recipients Margaret O’Donoghue and Chris Kenny joined a record breaking 4,600 students at this year's prestigious Degree and Award ceremonies at Preston’s Guild Hall.

Margaret, who was a St Catherine’s Hospice founder member and creator of Preston’s Cancer Help, received her award on Monday afternoon while Chris Kenny, Chief Fire Officer for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, took to the stage on Thursday afternoon.

Born locally in Longridge, Margaret started training as a State Registered Nurse at the Royal Preston Hospital in 1956 and, after qualifying, garnered a number of specialist qualifications and wide-ranging experience of oncological practice and cancer care.

Through her own professional experience, Margaret identified significant deficiencies in the treatment of cancer patients. In 1981 she became a founder member of St Catherine’s Hospice and subsequently became Chair of the Board. Later that decade she established Cancer Help (Preston) Ltd and in 1990 she created Community Cancer Centre in Vine House.

By 2001 the proud Lancastrian had initiated the second Community Cancer Centre, this time in nearby Garstang. Through these specialist centres, more than 6,000 local cancer sufferers receive free visits or contact every year.

The grandmother-of-four still operates as the Chief Executive Officer of Cancer Help but in her spare time she enjoys live theatre, traditional jazz and reading. She has many honours and accolades to her name including being chosen as Lancashire Woman of the Year in 1994 and becoming a Guild Burgess of Preston City in 2012.

Chris excelled academically but turned down an opportunity to study biology at university after joining Merseyside Fire Service for what was intended to be a gap year.

Chris became passionate about firefighting and succeeded in a number of challenging roles, including being on the front line during the Toxteth riots.

The Liverpudlian combined his work with a return to education in 1992 when he enrolled on UCLan’s fire engineering degree. The football fanatic then went on to become one of the first officers in the country to use academic qualifications, coupled with technical experience, to attain chartered engineer status. He followed that up with a Masters in Fire Command and Management at UCLan.

In 2000 Chris, who enjoys walking and traveling in his spare time, transferred to Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service. He continued to develop many positive links with UCLan as he rose through the senior ranks of the county’s service.

In October 2012, he was appointed Chief Fire Officer. The following year his long and distinguished career was given the royal seal of approval when he received the Queen’s Fire Service Medal from Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace.