TV icon and global journalist receive educational honour
Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves and BBC journalist Peter Burdin among new honorary award recipients
A Blue Peter presenter and a BBC TV journalist are among the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) newest Honorary Fellows.
Peter Purves, who hosted the popular children’s TV show in the 1960s and 70s, and Peter Burdin, whose career with the famous news corporation spanned more than 30 years, took to stage of UCLan’s Sir Tom Finney Sports Centre this week to receive their prestigious awards.
Peter Purves’ career on the small screen has spanned more than 60 years with his first notable role as Steven Taylor, a famous companion of Doctor Who. His love for the role led him to take part in a recent award-winning UCLan project, which saw students and staff remake the lost 1960s Doctor Who episode ‘Mission to the Unknown’.
He was born in Preston and raised in nearby New Longton before spending his first 18 years in Blackpool. He co-presented Blue Peter for 11 years during its heyday and has presented the world-famous dog show Crufts for 41 years.
The 83-year-old received the prestigious award to acknowledge the significant contribution he has made in services to television, acting and presenting.
He said: “Having been born in Preston, this is my part of the world, so I'm just absolutely thrilled they've honoured me in such a special way. I was absolutely knocked sideways when I was asked so I feel very privileged to be here.
"I'm just absolutely thrilled they've honoured me in such a special way"— New UCLan Honorary Fellow Peter Purves
"There's a fabulous media department here. I became involved with UCLan because I was invited to come and watch the recording of a long-lost episode of Doctor Who and I was absolutely astonished at the expertise shown by the students, graduates and staff who produced a memorably accurate production of that episode.”
Peter Burdin was recognised for his significant contribution to journalism and the mentoring and training of journalists.
He was based in Africa and delivered exclusive coverage on a range of huge events, including the death of President Nelson Mandela. He was raised close to Preston and retired from the BBC in 2016.
He now uses his skills to mentor and train young journalists through his own media company. He also became one of UCLan’s Leaders in Residence and collaborates with journalism academics.
The University also awarded a posthumous Honorary Fellowship to the late Ron Atkins, who was an MP for Preston North in the 1960s and 70s.
Until his death in 2020, at age 104 he was the UK’s longest living former MP. He served as a Preston City Councillor and was the primary political driving force behind the establishment of Preston Polytechnic in 1984. He later advocated for its evolution to full university status as the University of Central Lancashire in 1992.
"There's a fabulous media department here. I was absolutely astonished at the expertise shown by the students, graduates and staff who produced a memorably accurate production of that episode"— Former Blue Peter presenter Peter Purves
He was honoured for the significant contribution he made to public service and to UCLan’s development and his widow Elizabeth took to the graduation stage to receive his award.
Music lawyer and author Ann Harrison and Ambassador Enna Park received Honorary Doctorates.
Ann was honoured to recognise the significant contribution she has made to the development of music business education. The lawyer and author is a consultant at an entertainment law firm and she has been instrumental in planning and delivering some of the biggest deals in modern music.
Ann has made a significant contribution to the development of music law education at national and international levels while her book is widely regarded as a key text for anyone studying on music related courses. She is also one of UCLan’s Leaders in Residence.
Enna was acknowledged for the significant contribution she has made to diplomacy and the development of Korean studies internationally. In her 37-year career as a diplomat, Enna took posts at the United Nations plus the Korean Embassies in India and China.
She made a huge impact on broadening and deepening Korean studies abroad while she served as Ambassador for Public Diplomacy and it was in her role as Korean Ambassador to the UK that she played a key role in the Korean Embassy’s visit to UCLan. Enna was instrumental in UCLan being awarded a special status by the Korean Embassy.
More than 2,000 students donned their academic caps and gowns to graduate during the three days of ceremonies.