Olympic rower Phelan Hill joins University of Bedfordshire graduates

Phelan Hill speaks to students at the University of Bedfordshire after receiving his honorary degree
Phelan Hill speaks to students at the University of Bedfordshire after receiving his honorary degree

Bedford-born rower Phelan Hill went from the Olympic podium to the university lectern - after being awarded an honorary degree by the University of Bedfordshire.

Phelan, who won a gold medal for Team GB at the Rio games to follow up his bronze at London 2012, became an Honorary Doctor of Science for his rowing achievements.

Lance Haggith also picked up an honorary degree from the University

Lance Haggith also picked up an honorary degree from the University

He said he was ‘honoured’ as he was recognised at the graduation ceremony on Tuesday at the Putteridge Bury campus, where he joined graduates from the Faculty of Education & Sport and the University’s Business School.

On receiving his award, Phelan said: “It is a huge honour. I grew up and loved my time in Bedford, living close to the University’s Bedford campus.

"I still have many ties and connections with the local area so to be recognised by an organisation that is so intrinsically connected to the community fills me with huge pride. I’m so proud to play just a small part in the life of the University today.”

Another Honorary Award was presented to Lance Haggith, the founder of Sports Traider, a charity that offers youngsters the kit and support they need to fulfil their sporting potential.

A student picks up his degree at the graduation ceremony on Tuesday

A student picks up his degree at the graduation ceremony on Tuesday

On receiving his Honorary Doctor of Science for his outstanding services to sport, Lance said: “I am truly honoured to receive this award, especially as it is coming from the University, for which I have a particular fondness due to the special relationship we have built up over the years working with the students helping to make a difference in the community.”

The pair joined students to graduate in front of delighted friends and loved ones.

The University’s Vice Chancellor, Bill Rammell, offered his congratulations to the graduates, saying: “Each of you is an accomplished, talented, ambitious individual, with so much to offer the world. Take pride in your achievement today. You have absolutely earned it.”

Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell congratulated graduates at the Putteridge Bury campus

Vice Chancellor Bill Rammell congratulated graduates at the Putteridge Bury campus