Doctor of comedy Jo Brand sees students graduate

WITH her trademark self-deprecating wit, Jo Brand gave Suffolk's latest crop of nurses-to-be a timely piece of advice.

Simon Tomlinson

WITH her trademark self-deprecating wit, Jo Brand gave Suffolk's latest crop of nurses-to-be a timely piece of advice.

“I told them not to leave getting fit to my age or they might die,” the 52-year-old recalled while smoking a cigarette on the steps of the town hall in Ipswich.

The former nurse arrived in the town yesterday to collect an honorary doctorate as hundreds of students graduated from University Campus Suffolk (UCS).

Ms Brand, famous for her television appearances on shows such as QI and Have I Got News For You, is among a group of influential individuals who have been recognised by UCS for their successful careers.

The stand-up comic, who worked as a psychiatric nurse until the mid-1980s, addressed graduates from the School of Pre-Registration Nursing during at ceremony at 2.30pm.

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She said: “They were hardly expecting me to do a serious speech. I did a few jokes and gave them a bit of advice for the future.

“I told them to do what you secretly want to do. I always really wanted to be a stand-up. I can't quite believe I have done it some days.”

Ms Brand said it was “great” to be a university doctor, but confessed to really wanting to be a doctor of comedy.

She added: “At least if someone has a heart attack on a plane, everyone will know I'm a doctor.”

Marks and Spencer boss Sir Stuart Rose and Rosie Varley, chairman of the General Social Care Council Public Guardian Board and Skills for Health Eastern Region, were also honoured at two other ceremonies yesterday.

Canon Peter Mortimer, the former assistant chief probation officer for Suffolk, Professor David Hall, a business development expert, and Professor Chris Green, who was awarded an OBE for services to communities in East Anglia, are due to follow suit today in the university's second-ever set of graduation ceremonies.

In total, around 900 students from the UCS Ipswich Campus, UCS Otley and UCS at Suffolk New College will have been presented with their degree certificates by the end of today.

Richard Lister, acting chief executive officer at UCS, said: “These graduates represent the heart of Suffolk, so it is only fitting they should become the focus of the town on their special day. It has been fabulous to bring the ceremonies into the heart of Ipswich.

“We are privileged that such highly respected and successful individuals from a range of backgrounds have taken the time to attend these ceremonies and share the occasion with our graduates.

“You could say Jo Brand is a national treasure…and Sir Stuart Rose is a high achiever and a complete role model for the students.”

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