University of Suffolk reveals honorary awards recipients for 2021

Geoff Barton, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has said the decis

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders - Credit: Archant

Leading lights from the worlds of local politics, education and broadcasting have been named among the recipients of honorary awards from the University of Suffolk.

The awards are due to be presented to nine individuals at graduation ceremonies this month, in recognition of contributions to fields including education, culture, enterprise and public service. 

Geoff Barton, headteacher at King Edward VI Upper School in Bury.

Geoff Barton, pictured as headteacher at King Edward VI Upper School in 2014 - Credit: Archant

Recipients of an honorary doctorate include Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders and former headteacher of King Edward VI School, in Bury St Edmunds. 

Ipswich-born broadcaster Stephen 'Foz' Foster, a well-known figure on the Suffolk music scene, who spent 30 years at BBC Radio Suffolk and can currently be heard on Radio Caroline, has been awarded an honorary degree.

Stephen Foster Radio Caroline

Foz in his home studio for Radio Caroline - Credit: Maggie Reeder

“I am absolutely delighted to receive this in recognition of my contribution to arts and culture in my home county," he said.

"It is a huge thrill for me to receive this award, which I would like dedicate to the creative force that is Suffolk.” 

Mrs Celia Edey receives her OBE at Buckingham Palace

Mrs Celia Edey receives her OBE at Buckingham Palace - Credit: PA Photos

Honorary doctorate recipient, Celia Edey OBE, a former magistrate, national charity fundraising chairman and Public Servant of the Year, was also a board member of the University Campus Suffolk and played a part in it gaining full university status. 

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Ex-Labour councillor, Albert Grant OBE, who receives an honorary doctorate, arrived in Ipswich in 1955, at the age of 21, from Barbados.

Albert Grant outside the Caribbean centre.
ES 19.3.10

Albert Grant outside the Ipswich Caribbean Association in 2010 - Credit: Archant

He became the first black Mayor of Ipswich in 1995, served on the housing and planning committees, chaired the Whitton/Whitehouse Housing Forum and the council’s Equal Opportunities Steering Group, and led the liaison panel for the West Meadows travellers' site.  

Outside council activities, he was a founder member of the Ipswich Caribbean Association and the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality.

Cynthia Capey has been associated with the university and its forerunners for more than half a century since moving to Suffolk in 1963.  

First employed part-time to teach Liberal Studies at what was then the Civic College, she introduced part-time certificated courses in Religious Studies in response to local demand.  

In 1991, she undertook a research project profiling the faith communities of Suffolk, resulting in two books, and facilitated the emergence of Suffolk Inter-Faith Resource (SIFRE) as a charitable company.

She set up the college chaplaincy and was enabled, by her close contact with asylum seekers and refugees within the college, to lay the foundations for the Suffolk Refugee Support. 

“I was delighted to receive this invitation to accept an honorary degree from the University of Suffolk. It recognises the importance of the interfaith work which I have been privileged to nurture, and will, I hope, encourage others to build bridges and promote tolerance and mutual understanding," she said.

Honorary award recipient Robin Christopherson MBE worked as an IT instructor for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (BNIB) and was a founding member of UK tech charity, AbilityNet. 

He was recognised with the MBE in the 2017 for services to digital inclusion and was included in the 'Power 100' list of the UK’s most influential people with disabilities last year.

Bealings Primary School headteacher of almost 30 years, Duncan Bathgate, also receives an honorary award.

Headteacher of Bealings Primary School, Duncan Bathgate

Headteacher of Bealings Primary School, Duncan Bathgate - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

The school, which uses the Mantle of the Expert educational approach, has developed training for teachers across Suffolk and beyond, has featured in seven professional films and has been rated outstanding on five occasions by Ofsted.

Rae Snape, another headteacher, in Cambridge, a National Leader of Education and author of The Headteacher's Handbook, received an honorary degree at West Suffolk College on Saturday.

Environmentalist and educationalist, Susan Falch-Lovesey, who, working for both the National Trust and Norfolk County Council, created teacher training programmes, EU-funded energy and outdoor learning projects, while collaborating on establishing Forest School in Norfolk and a whole county energy programme.

As local liaison officer and skills champion for Vattenfall, she has developed and promoted career pathways into the wind industry and will be receiving an honorary award at the graduation ceremony for the University of Suffolk as East Coast College on Tuesday.