Charmer gets degree of success

CHARMER Nigel Havers had his female admirers swooning in their seats yesterday when he returned to Suffolk to pick up a top award.The popular actor, who grew up near Bury St Edmunds, was given an honorary degree in Civil Law by Suffolk New College.

CHARMER Nigel Havers had his female admirers swooning in their seats yesterday when he returned to Suffolk to pick up a top award.

The popular actor, who grew up near Bury St Edmunds, was given an honorary degree in Civil Law by Suffolk New College.

He was handed the doctorate in front of hundreds of students who were celebrating their own graduation at a ceremony at Trinity Park, Ipswich.

Afterwards Mr Havers, who has starred in films Chariots of Fire, A Passage to India and Empire of the Sun, said: “Suffolk is a very beautiful county and I have some great memories from when I was growing-up. It has fantastic countryside and I know my parents loved being here.

“I'm absolutely chuffed to have been given this degree and it's lovely to come back to a part of the world that is very important to me. In fact its always been a plan to come back here - I won't say when I retire because an actor never retires and I'll probably keep going until I fall down dead on stage - but we'd like to finish up here one day.”

Mr Havers, who has also appeared in a number of TV shows including Upstairs Downstairs, Don't Wait Up, The Charmer, Dangerfield, The Gentleman Thief and Manchild, still has close links to the area and is patron of the recently refurbished Theatre Royal in Bury St Edmunds.

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“The work that has been done is absolutely fantastic and it looks really good,” he said. “It is the most beautiful Georgian theatre and probably one of only a few remaining ones around.”

Mr Havers was one of four honorary graduands picking up their degrees yesterday, which also included Ipswich Council chief executive James Hehir who received an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law, photographer Eamonn McCabe who was given an Honorary Doctorate of Letters and novelist Julie Myerson who was handed an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law.

Ms Myerson, who has a holiday home in Southwold spent her childhood holidays in the seaside town and used it as the location for her novel Something Might Happen.

The degrees, awarded by the University of East Anglia, are given to people who have made significant contributions to Ipswich or Suffolk or who have a strong connection to the county.

The final graduation ceremonies take place today and by the end more than 900 students will have picked up degrees.

Among those attending later this afternoon are playwright and performer Roy Hudd, who is picking up an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law, archaeologist Carenza Lewis who worked closely with the Suffolk Aim Higher project and is receiving an Honorary Doctorate of Science and actress Amanda Donohoe, who lives in west Suffolk and is being awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters.

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