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Graham Proctor
Master of Science 

Graham Proctor was born in Withington, Manchester. He studied at the former Chester College (now the University of Chester) in 1961. He began his teaching career in Christleton, where he taught general science and physics. He also taught at Bishops Bluecoat School, now a specialist science college. He is particularly proud of being part of a team which admitted students with severe disabilities into mainstream school, which he said at the time was ‘cutting edge’, as they were cared for and treated as equals by their fellow students.

In May 1980, Graham, now married to Sue, and with daughters Kirsten and Ruth, noticed a small notice on the village board at Pipers Ash, where they lived just outside Chester. This was the first they had heard that an extension to the M53 motorway was coming through their street. Working with other local residents the campaign succeeded in establishing an alternative route, known as the ‘Missing Link’ which did not destroy any properties and filled in the gap that then existed between the A56 and A55. Graham gained useful experience of grassroots campaigning and this laid the foundation for many years of local political work.

By 1981 he was elected to Great Boughton Parish Council, the following year he was elected to the City Council and was Group Leader for the Liberal Democrats from 1984 until 2001. His wife Sue, also an active local politician, was elected Lady Mayor in 1991 and Graham became Consort. In 2001, he was himself elected Lord Mayor. He is an Honorary Freeman and Honorary Alderman of the City of Chester.

A keen advocate of the scouting movement, he joined the Wolf Cubs at the age of seven and then joined the Chester Scout group at Northgate, later moving to the First Saughall Senior Scouts. When his teaching career took him to Ellesmere Port, he joined the school Scout group as leader, continuing in that role for many years. The Scout Movement has honoured Graham with both the Long Service Award and Medal of Merit. He is also Honorary Secretary of Chester Rowing Club. He also played for 14 years with the Clog and Whippet Country Dance Band.

 

Susan Proctor MBE JP DL
Master of Arts 

Susan Proctor was born in Ellesmere Port in 1947, the eldest of four daughters. In 1968 she met Graham Proctor who had arrived to teach Science at her old school. Graham had been a student at Chester College and ran a folk club at the Bull & Stirrup in Chester which Sue joined.

Sue was actively involved in the “Save Pipers Ash” campaign which was established when a motorway proposal threatened to destroy four houses in the road where the Proctors lived. She gained useful experience of grassroots campaigning and this laid the foundation for many years of voluntary and community work.

Sue stood as a Liberal candidate in the May 1981 County Council elections and came second by several hundred votes. Two months later, however, Sue was elected to Chester City Council. In 1991 she became the ninth woman mayor of Chester. In February 1992, Chester was granted the right to have a Lord Mayor and so for the final weeks of her time in office Sue became Chester’s first ever Lord Mayor.

In 2005, Sue became Leader of Cheshire’s Liberal Democrat Group, the first and only woman to have led any political group on Cheshire County Council. She also served for five years on Cheshire Police Authority. She has managed to retain the seat through each election until the County Council was abolished in 2009 and Sue chose to retire from local government and active politics.

Outside of politics, Sue has followed interests in Health and Social Care. She was involved in a national steering group which led to the founding of the Manic Depressive Fellowship, a second steering group which established the Crossroads Care scheme in Chester, and a third which brought together Barnardo’s and Cheshire Youth Services at New Scene Youth Club. Working mainly with young people with learning difficulties, the Club recently received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service.

Sue is a patron of the Chester Childbirth Trust. In 2009, she helped a local family achieve their ambition to build a BMX track in memory of their 12-year-old son who died in a road incident. In just 18 months, with Sue in the Chair, Josh’s Project raised £76,000 and the track known as Josh’s Jumps, was constructed with sufficient money to maintain it and keep it secure for the next 10 years. Sue is also a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Cheshire and form more than 30 years has been both a Parish Councillor and School Governor. She became a Magistrate last year and serves on the Vale Royal bench. In 2004 Sue was awarded an MBE for services to the community in Chester.

 

The Rt Honorable Baroness Morris
Doctor of Letters 

Estelle Morris was born in Manchester and is a graduate of Coventry College of Education (now Warwick Institute of Education) where she gained a Bachelor of Education degree in1974. Her first post was teaching Social Science and Humanities at a multi-cultural inner city community school in Coventry. She remained there until 1992, becoming Head of Sixth Form Studies, but retaining a commitment to outreach work including home visits to pupils and families.

In 1992, she was elected to Parliament for Birmingham Yardley. And in 1994 she was appointed as Opposition Spokesperson for Education and Employment. After Labour’s 1997 election victory Estelle became Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department for Education and Employment and in 1998 Minister for School Standards. In 2001 she was appointed Secretary of State for the newly created Department for Education and Skills.

Estelle famously resigned from this post in 2002, but rejoined the front bench in 2003 as Minister for the Arts in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. She did not seek re-election at the general election in 2005 after 13 years as MP for Birmingham Yardley. She was conferred as Baroness Morris of Yardley in the County of West Midlands, on 14 June 2005.

In April 2005, the Right Honorable Baroness Morris was appointed to a three year term as a Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sunderland, where she was once again able to pursue her commitment to outreach. In 2005, she was appointed both Chair of the Children’s Workforce Development Council and President of the National Children’s Bureau. She currently chairs the Strategy Board of the Institute of Effective Education at the University of York.

She was Chair of the Education and Learning Committee of the Paul Hamlyn Foundation – an independent grant-making organisation focusing on the arts, education and social justice – and engages with the work of the Roundhouse arts, education and community venue in London. She was Chair of the Board of Trustees for the National Coal Mining Museum of England and Patron of First Taste Charity which has won the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service for its work in the Derbyshire Dales. First Taste is an educational arts charity undertaking practical action for carer training in care and nursing homes, and engages in a range of arts and reminiscence projects, as well as working with young people to mentor care workers, and through them the elderly, in the introduction of IT.

 

Christine Russell
Doctor of Letters 

Christine Russell was born in Holbeach in 1945 to a Lincolnshire farming family. She studied at University College London and gained a Professional Librarianship Qualification at the London School of Librarianship. She came to live in Chester in 1974 and as a full-time mum became immersed in community activities.

In 1980 she was elected as one of three councillors for College Ward ('Garden Quarter’ Ward today) to the then Chester City Council. Her main interests on the Council were planning and development and Christine chaired both those committees for a number of years. She also chaired the Chester Film Society as an extra-curricular activity and coordinated the Chester Film Festival.

From 1992-1993 Christine served as Sheriff of Chester and was Deputy Lord Mayor 1996/1997. She would have stepped up to Lord Mayor in May 1997, but instead joined the House of Commons entering the record books as both Chester's first woman Member of Parliament and first Labour Member of Parliament. In Parliament she served on the Select Committee looking at transport, local government, planning and housing, followed by becoming Parliamentary Private Secretary to Beverley Hughes the Minister of State for Children, Young People and Families. She then became Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Her extra-curricular responsibilities included the role of Vice Chair of the British Branch of the Inter Parliamentary Union; Executive Member of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association; Executive Member of the Africa All Party Group; Chair of the All Party Retail Group; and Secretary of the All Party Football Group. Christine said the latter “gave me access to the top brass of the Football Association and the Football League to lobby on behalf of Chester's beleaguered Football Club”.

Christine was also closely involved in a number of Arab organisations and was an Executive Member of the Council for the Advancement of Arab British Understanding, being sent by Tony Blair as an envoy to Libya. Now, in retirement, Christine has joined the Council of the Chester Civic Trust as well as continuing to head the Odeon Cinema Action group, designed to restore the building as a cultural venue.

 

Dr Clifford Kay CBE FRCGP
Doctor of Science 

Clifford Kay was raised in Frodsham. His first GP practice was in North Wales before joining National Service with the Royal Air Force becoming a Squadron Leader in the medical branch. He then set up on his own with the support of his wife Yvette. As Dr Kay notes, “she was the staff” when they opened a new practice in Didsbury in 1955 with no patients. When he retired 40 years later to the day there were five partners and 12,000 patients. Clifford and Yvette have two children, Roger who is Head of Law at the University of Chester, and Alison, a GP in North Cumbria.

Dr Kay is a Bachelor of Medicine; Bachelor of Surgery and Doctor of Medicine of the University of Liverpool; Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners then Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners; a Doctor of Philosophy of the University of Manchester and an Honorary Fellow of the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He holds 50 further memberships of research groups, working parties, consultative bodies, steering committees and learned councils. He has published 116 refereed papers in medical and scientific journals.

His interests are wide ranging but his life’s work has been around the impact on women’s health of oral contraception and he has received many honours for this including being awarded the Discovery Prize in recognition of 30 years for research in this field. He was appointed Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Jubilee Honours List in 1977.

 

Hilary Tucker
Doctor of Letters 

Hilary Tucker received a Doctor of Letters in recognition of her outstanding contribution to the community life of Warrington and in particular her contribution as Principal of the Warrington Collegiate Institute.

Hilary Tucker was born in Warrington and attended the City of Birmingham College of Education where she gained a Teacher’s Certificate with distinction. Her first teaching post was as a Primary School Teacher in Derbyshire where she was appointed as the teacher responsible for Innovation and Curriculum Development, while simultaneously undertaking an Open University degree in Social Sciences, gaining first class honours, and starting a family.

Hilary was appointed Lecturer at Padgate College of Higher Education to teach on the BA in Sociology and the BEd and PGCE in Teacher Education programmes. The next year she also became a part time Open University Advisor and Tutor in Educational Studies. In 1979, she was promoted to Course Leader for Sociology of Education on the initial and in-service BEd degrees. In 1984 took the opportunity to complete an MLitt by Research at Lancaster University.

From 1986 she was Co-ordinator of the Access to HE initiative and from 1988 Degree Programme Manager, simultaneously gaining a distinction in the University of Manchester Certificate in Counselling. She was promoted to Dean of the new University College structure at Warrington in 1992, and was made Deputy Principal and Deputy Chief Executive in 1996. Just one year later Hilary became Principal and Chief Executive, holding the post for the next five years when she chose to take early retirement.

While pursuing this busy career, Hilary undertook a range of other committee duties: from 1993 to 2002 she was the Warrington Collegiate Representative on the Senate Committee of the University of Manchester. From 1997 – 2002 she was the Confederation of British Industry NW Regional Council Representative and a member of the following: the Higher Education Funding Council for England Additional Student Numbers Advisory Panel; the Higher Education Funding Council for England’s Further Education Colleges Advisory Group; the Council for Validating Universities Executive Committee, and the Department of Education and Sciences’ Advisory Group for Foundation Degrees.

Her local engagements since from 1998 to 2002 include being a member of Warrington Learning Partnership Board; a Trustee of the Warrington Arts Trust and a Governor of Beamont Community School. From 2001 until 2002 she was Chair of the Cheshire Colleges’ Principals Consortium. From 2001-2003 Hilary was President of Warrington and Vale Royal Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

From 2001-2007 she was a Member of the Cheshire Area Probation Board and during 2003 she was Executive Consultant to the Principal of North East Wales Institute of Higher Education. In 2006 she was invited to join the Postgraduate Medical Education Training Board as Partner and Panel Member. From 2003-2010 she was a Member of Council of the University of Chester.

Since 2000 she has remained a Trustee of the Community of St David Educational Trust and is an Elder of the Religious Society of Friends. She has also served as Chair of Greater Manchester Probation Trust and a National Health Service Lay Assessor of Clinical Practitioners.

 

David Thompson MBE DL
Master of Business Administration 

Dave is founder and chair of Warrington Disability Information Service and the chair of the Warrington Committee for Disabled People. He was the founder and a trustee of Shopmobility and the founder and Vice-Chair of Warrington Disability Sports Forum before all four organisations joined to form Warrington Disability Partnership.

He is the founder and current Event Co-ordinator of the North West Disability Awareness Day, Europe’s largest and longest running voluntary-led independent living exhibition, and was a founder and past Chair of the Cheshire Disabilities Federation and the founder of the North West Positive Action Awards.

Dave has travelled widely across the UK and Europe promoting the development and sustainability of partnerships involving disabled people and carers. He is the Assistant Director of Inclusion and Partnerships at the 5 Boroughs Partnership NHS Trust and leads its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Unit, covering patient and public involvement, equality and diversity, and social inclusion.

In June 2001 Dave received an MBE for services to disabled people and the NHS; in 2004 he received the Paul Harris Fellowship, an International award from the Rotary Foundation. In 2006 he was commissioned a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Cheshire and the same year the North West Disability Awareness Days received a Queen’s Award for Voluntary Services.; Dave is a trustee of the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace and Trustee and Chair of the Griffiths Court Foundation.

Warrington Disability Partnership (WDP) celebrated its 20th anniversary last summer 2010. It has organised and coordinated 450,000 volunteer hours, taken and addressed 560,000 telephone calls. 400,000 people have attended Disability Awareness Day events. Over £1 million has been raised by WDP, then distributed and used through other disability charities. Warrington Disability Partnership currently employs 50 paid and nearly 200 volunteer staff delivering a wide range of independent living services including an Independent Living Centre, Direct Payments and Employment Support.

 

Ronald Pickup
Doctor of Letters 

The actor Ronald Pickup was born in Chester in 1940 and was brought up in Blacon by his parents Eric and Daisy. Eric Pickup was a lecturer in English and French, eventually Senior Lecturer in French, at the then Diocesan Training College for Teachers, now the University of Chester.

Ronald attended King’s School in Chester before going on to read English at the University of Leeds. He obtained a scholarship to attend RADA from 1962 to 1964, where he met his wife Lans Traverse. He graduated from RADA in 1964 and walked straight into an episode of Dr Who with William Hartnell, playing a surgeon during the French Revolution.

Ronald’s acting career includes: around 41 stage roles; 20 film roles; 42 television roles – many of them serials or multiple episodes; radio productions and taped readings. Ronald worked with the likes of William Gaskill; Michael Blakemore; Peter Hall, Peter Brook and Laurence Olivier. He acted in premieres of plays by writers such as Edward Bond and John Arden alongside numerous representations of the classics.

He spent a decade at the National Theatre and acted with Olivier on several occasions most notably in Three Sisters, in Long Day’s Journey into Night and in Olivier’s last stage performance. He has also appeared in The Dragon’s Opponent, Day of the Jackal, Zulu Dawn, Nijinsky, Ivanhoe, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Hornblower, Hustle, Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders, Waking the Dead, The Bill, Silent Witness, Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse, Holby City and as Pegleg in Lark Rise to Candleford. He has been nominated for an Olivier award, a BAFTA, won the Sony Radio Award in 1987 and is a member of the RADA Academy.

 

Jason McCue
Doctor of Law 

Jason McCue was born in Sankey in Warrington. He attended Broomfields Junior School and Stockton Heath County High School. He was steered towards law by a family contact with the solicitor Norman Banner, now a senior partner in the leading Warrington law firm Forshaws Davies Ridgway.

At 17, Jason left for London to take a place to read Law at Queen Mary’s, University of London. Jason went on to become the founding partner of H2O Law and McCue and Partners. He advises governments, Non-Governmental Organisations and companies on an array of legal, crisis management and humanitarian issues including human rights, victim’s rights, domestic and cross border litigation and transitional justice.

He is well known for his pursuit of terrorists and rogue regimes through the civil and criminal courts and for the tracing and recovery of their assets. He was named as the UK’s Lawyer of the Year 2009-2010 by the UK Law Society. Some of his recent work includes: McDonald -v- The Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Colonel Muammar Qadhafi et al in which Jason was lead counsel representing the interests of victims of Provisional IRA bombings carried out with the support of the Gaddafi regime.

He is also head of the Libyan UK Reconciliation Group, which is supported by a dedicated unit within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In Breslin & Ors -v- McKenna & Ors, Jason was lead counsel in the world’s first ever civil proceedings against members of a terrorist organisation and the Real IRA on behalf of the families of those killed in the 1998 bombing of Omagh. He led the case to a pioneering and inspirational victory in 2010.

He was also instrumental in the successful lobbying of the US Government that brought about its designation of the Real IRA by the US as a foreign terrorist organisation. In Almog -v- Arab Bank Plc Jason was co-counsel representing over 2,000 victims of HAMAS suicide bombings before the US District Court. The defendant now stands accused of handling and transferring funds in support of terrorism. In The Times -v- Thomas Murphy Jason led the only successful legal action in which a Chief of Staff of the Provisional IRA was proven, in court, to be the head of a terrorist organisation.

Outside of direct legal work Jason currently holds a number of positions within charities and Non-Governmental Organisations that include the role of Ambassador for Femmes Africa Solidarité, Chief Advisor to Crisis Action and consultant to Beyond Borders.

Along with his wife, the journalist and presenter Mariella Frostrup, he is a founder and Director of the Gender Rights and Equality Action Trust Foundation. He has worked closely with the UN, Oxfam and Crisis Action. He has been particularly active in Sudan; he created Mandate Darfur and formulated it with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and has worked closely with United Nations African Mission in Darfur in the region on an array of matters where he has made an exceptional contribution to securing victims' rights.

 

The Very Reverend Peter Francis
Doctor of Divinity 

Peter Francis was ordained into the Anglican Church in 1978. His 33 years of ministry include periods in England, Scotland and Wales. He began his ministry in the West Midlands before becoming a Chaplain at the University of London. From London, he moved to Scotland as Rector of Ayr and then became Provost of St Mary’s Cathedral Glasgow.

In 1997, Peter became Warden of Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden in North Wales. His career has been a reflection of commitment to both ministry and scholarship, covering a range of topic across urban theology, rural ministry, peace and justice, and matters of inclusion. Peter developed an interest in urban theology and the Cathedral team ministry in Glasgow included daughter churches and projects in the Urban Priority Areas of Possilpark and Clydebank as well as central Glasgow.

He also chaired the Diocesan Mission Board and was responsible for the implementation of the Glasgow projects for the Scottish equivalent of the Church Urban Fund. Peter initiated the annual meetings of the Urban Church Collective at Gladstone’s Library, a gathering of urban theologians and practitioners. A book of their reflections, Faithfulness in the City was published in 2003.

Peter’s interest in urban issues and the plight of British cities has led him to focus on interfaith issues in the UK and especially the inclusion of Islam in Western society. This interest has led to the Gladstone Library’s Islamic Reading Room Project, a resource to help counter disinformation and misinformation and to nurture dialogue between Christian and Muslims, which opened just last month.

Peter has encouraged postgraduate work in Rural Ministry, based residentially at Gladstone’s Library. He has co-edited a book, Changing Rural Life, based on a major consultation held at Gladstone’s Library on rural issues and ministry.

His other interests include peace and justice work. He was the Scottish Representative on the Anglican Peace and Justice Network. Peter was one of the co-founders of the St Hilda Community, a group committed to creating inclusive liturgy and providing a radical voice within the Movement for the Ordination of Women in the Anglican Communion. He was a Church in Wales representative on the CTBI (Churches together in Britain and Ireland) consultation on Human Sexuality. He was a contributor to Dreaming of Eden, a book of reflections on Christianity and sexuality.

Peter is committed to a liberal and open Christianity, and is presently creating a research collection of British Liberal Theology. Peter has written a book on religious film and has co-edited a book exploring the same issue, called Cinema Divinite.

The role of Warden of Gladstone’s Library has led to Peter’s interest in the life and influence of the Library’s founder, William Ewart Gladstone, and to editing two collections of lectures on Gladstone, The Grand Old Man and The Gladstone Umbrella. Concerned to make Gladstone’s Library more than a shrine to the Victorian statesman, Peter is keen to encourage debate about liberal values in contemporary society. He preaches and lectures in the USA and Australia and has been a frequent broadcaster and commentator on religious matters for the BBC.

 

The Rt Reverend Donald Allister, Bishop of Peterborough
Doctor of Theology 

Bishop Allister was educated at Birkenhead School before taking a place at Peterhouse, Cambridge to read Medical Science. He later changed to Theology and after graduation he undertook further study for ordination at Trinity College, Bristol. While there he chaired the national Theological Students Fellowship, and was ordained in Chester Cathedral in 1976. Most of his ministry has been in the Chester Diocese.

A curacy in Hyde was followed by another in Sevenoaks where he was also Consultant Editor of the Church of England Newspaper. Moving back to Birkenhead as Vicar of Christ Church he chaired the governing bodies of two church schools, was part-time Chaplain at the newly opened Arrowe Park Hospital, and saw his congregation grow from 40 to over 200 in six years. He then moved to be Rector of St Mary’s Cheadle, again seeing considerable growth in congregations and supporting the launch of a number of initiatives including the Message Trust, the Christians in Schools Trust and the Bible Encounter Trust, all working with children and young people in the Stockport area and further afield.

While in Cheadle, he wrote extensively for Christian journals and spoke at many theological conferences, chaired the council of the Church Society, and served as Rural Dean. In 2002 he was appointed Archdeacon of Chester with responsibility for the Anglican Churches in West Cheshire and the Wirral. Heavily involved in Diocesan administration and pastoral care of the clergy he also became a Trustee of the Diocesan Board of Education for eight years, serving as Chair for almost a year between two Bishops of Birkenhead.

As well as visiting many church schools he contributed significantly to Diocesan Board of Education policies including the launch of joint Anglican-Catholic Schools and new Church Academies. He became a member of the General Synod in 2005 and was appointed to the commission drafting legislation relating to the consecration of women as bishops in 2006, serving until it delivered its proposals in 2008.

He was also a strong supporter of the University of Chester Chaplaincy, preaching several times at the annual commissioning of the Chaplaincy Team as well as speaking at the Christian Union. In 2010 he was appointed as Bishop of Peterborough.

 

Sir Tony Robinson OBE
Doctor of Science 

Tony Robinson was born in in 1946 in Hackney. He studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama, moving into repertory theatre. His first professional appearance was aged 12 in the original version of the stage musical Oliver! This was followed by a number of shows, films and TV appearances as a child actor.

He spent several years in rep, and secured an Arts Council Bursary to work for two years as a theatre director, before moving on to the Chichester Festival Theatre, the RSC and the National Theatre where among other projects he worked with the Peter Hall/Tony Harrison version of The Oresteia.

He has made a number of television and film appearances and went on to have lead roles in numerous television series including Channel 4's cult sketch show Who Dares Wins and ITV's sitcom My Wonderful Life. He is best known for his role as Baldrick in Blackadder in the 1980s, his creation of the 1990s TV series Maid Marian and her Merry Men and from 1994 onwards for his work with Time Team, which has played such a pivotal role in popularising archaeology and history across the country and he is President of the Young Archaeology Club.

Tony has also made many TV documentaries on subjects including The Peasants’ Revolt, the Roman Emperors, Macbeth and Robin Hood, and three programmes on the place of myth in the 21st-century including The Real Da Vinci Code and The Doomsday Code, two series of The Worst Jobs In History and a documentary about the elderly entitled Me and My Mum. He has also made a Channel Four series set in the British Museum called Codex.

As a writer of children's television programmes he has won two Royal Television Society awards, a BAFTA and the International Prix Jeunesse. He has written 18 children's books, including Tony Robinson's Kings and Queens, and in 2005 The Worst Children’s Jobs in History. His has also written titles for adults, including The Worst Jobs in History, Archaeology is Rubbish – A Beginner's Guide, co-written with Professor Mick Aston, and In Search of British Heroes. He is also recording the entire works of Terry Pratchett for audiotape.

He was Vice-President of the Equity trade union, representing British actors, from 1996 until 2000 and a member of the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party from 2000 until 2004.