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Collection of prize students

PUBLISHED: 11:02 22 September 2001 | UPDATED: 10:33 03 March 2010

HORTICULTURIST Charles Notcutt, chairman of the Notcutts Garden Centres group, has become the first recipient of an honorary degree at Otley College.

The college, which specialises in training for the land-based industries, has awarded degrees for several years, with the courses being validated by the University of East Anglia, but this is the first time an honorary degree has been awarded.

HORTICULTURIST Charles Notcutt, chairman of the Notcutts Garden Centres group, has become the first recipient of an honorary degree at Otley College.

The college, which specialises in training for the land-based industries, has awarded degrees for several years, with the courses being validated by the University of East Anglia, but this is the first time an honorary degree has been awarded.

Mr Notcutt received his honorary doctorate in civil law from Moya Willson, pro-vice-chancellor of the UEA, together with the 35 students who have completed degree, post-graduate or advanced certificate courses at the college this year during a prize giving ceremony at the college last night.

Giving his annual report, John Pearson said the college had successfully come through another challenging year, with the outbreak of swine fever shortly before last year's graduation ceremony having been followed in February by foot-and-mouth disease.

Although more than half of the country's agricultural colleges had closed, Otley had remained open throughout but with stringent precautions, including the tutoring of many students away from the site if there was a risk of contamination.

Mr Pearson thanked the college's staff, students and governors for their support, which he said had helped the college to meet all its targets and remain in good financial health despite the difficulties faced during the year.

Yesterday's graduation ceremony, which was formally opened by Robert Black, chairman of the governors at Otley, was followed by an evening prize giving at which more than 80 of the college's students were presented awards by David Sheepshanks, the chairman of Ipswich Town Football Club and Suffolk Foods.

Among the recipients was Darren Tansley, 35, who having received a first class honours degree in conservation management during the morning ceremony was also presented with the Fauna and Flora International Award for his third year dissertation on small mammal populations in hedgerows, which he undertook in co-operation with Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

A double winner at the ceremony was Stacy Andrews, 23, who received the Stewart Cup for the NVQ2 course in mechanised crop production the British Sugar Cup for the top agricultural student overall.

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