Three Honorary Fellowships were bestowed during the graduation ceremonies held on the Preston Campus
Three distinguished people with strong links to the county have been rewarded for their success with Honorary Fellowships from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).
The prestigious awards were bestowed on women’s football campaigner Gail Newsham, music tour manager Kim Hawes and Chief Executive Officer of Burnley-based fabrics supplier Panaz Tony Attard OBE DL.
The trio took to the stage of UCLan’s transformed Sir Tom Finney Sports Hall, on the Preston Campus, to receive their awards. They were joined by more than 3,500 graduates and 12,500 family and friends throughout the five days.
"I would like to thank the University nominations committee for giving this prestigious award to me. I am extremely honoured and grateful. I have faced many challenges on my way to receiving this award."
Prestonian Gail received her award to acknowledge her significant contribution to women’s football. The proud Prestonian has campaigned tirelessly for women’s football to be recognised in its own right, and was responsible for the reunion of the Dick, Kerr Ladies Football Club team - the subject of her book ‘In a League of Their Own.’ Her work led to Lily Parr becoming the first woman to be inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame in 2002.
Gail said: “From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank the University for giving me this honour today. I’m a bit gobsmacked to tell you the truth. When I was a young lass growing up, going to university was something ordinary folks like me could never have dreamed of, and I am sure I will treasure the memory of this day for the rest of my life.”
Kim, who was born in nearby Hesketh Bank, was recognised for her significant contribution to the music industry and tour management. Her career was kickstarted through an opportunity to go backstage at an Elvis Costello and the Attractions gig in Preston in the 1970s. The first female tour manager in the UK or USA, she worked with artists including Motorhead, Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones during a 30-year career; anecdotes from which feature in her book ‘Telling Tales’, an account of her life on the road.
She told the new graduates: “Take your dream and make it a reality. Break down barriers and prove the masses wrong. You will need courage and determination but just be the best you can be and take pride in shaping the future. It can be a long road full of frustrations but it’s worth traveling.”
Tony received his award to acknowledge his significant contribution to the textile industry and international trade. As CEO of Burnley-based fabrics supplier Panaz, he sits on the board of Creative Lancashire and is Chairman of both Marketing Lancashire and UCLan spin-out company Alusid. He has also served as High Sheriff of Lancashire. UCLan students have benefitted from his expert advice and guidance through guest lectures. He was awarded an OBE in 2010 for services to the textile industry and international trade.
He commented: “I would like to thank the University nominations committee for giving this prestigious award to me. I am extremely honoured and grateful. I have faced many challenges on my way to receiving this award, but each one has only strengthened me to become the person I am today.”