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Durham University News



Durham University confers three Honorary Degrees

(12 January 2005)

Three distinguished people with strong connections with the North East will receive Honorary Degrees from the University of Durham at special ceremonies this week.

Mr David Crookes has made a massive contribution to organising and supporting music in the region. Dr John Bridge has had a long career in public, private and academic sectors and was the founding chairman of One NorthEast. Sir John Pattison who was a pupil of Barnard Castle School has had distinguished academic career in medicine and public health.

All three will receive Honorary Degrees in separate ceremonies at the University of Durham’s Winter Congregation which takes place in the magnificent surroundings of Durham Cathedral and Thursday 13th January and Friday 14th January.

The University will confer degrees on 1,150 graduates, mostly Masters and Doctorates. The degrees will be presented by the Vice Chancellor, Sir Kenneth Calman,who will also formally confer each of the three candidates with their Honorary Degrees.

The Honorary Degree ceremonies take place as follows :

  • 11.00 a.m. Thursday 13th January 2005 Mr David Crookes MMus
  • 2.00 p.m. Thursday 13th January 2005 Sir John Pattison DSc
  • 11.00 a.m. Friday 14th January 2005 Dr John Bridge DCL
  • Inside the Cathedral, all three recipients will take part in a formal gowned academic procession of University Staff. Each will be presented to Vice Chancellor Sir Kenneth Calman - Dr Bridge and Sir John by the Public Orator Professor David Fuller and Mr Crookes by Professor Peter Manning the Head of Music. The presentation speech outlines the achievements and qualities of each individual in support of their nomination for an Honorary Degree.

    Notes to editors :

    There will be media photo/film opportunities immediately prior to the start of each ceremony after each recipient is gowned and after the official photography session. The timings for media opportunities in the Cathedral are :

    • Thursday 13th January (10.20 a.m.) Mr David Crookes
    • Thursday January 13th (1.20 p.m.) Sir John Pattison
    • Friday 14thJanuary (10.20 a.m.) Dr John Bridge

    Media representatives wishing to attend should contact :

    Tom Fennelly, Public Relations Officer, University of Durham Tel 0191 334 6078 e-mail :

    Biographical notes :

    Mr David Crookes

    Mr David Crookes will receive an Honorary Master of Music Degree in recognition of his massive contribution to music in the region. For more than 40 years, David Crookes has dedicated a huge amount of his spare time and energy helping to organise music in the region, particularly in Durham.

    He has been Secretary of the Durham Choral Society since 1963, and additionally over different periods, a singer with Durham County Opera Group, North Yorkshire Chorus and St Ignatius Singers, Sunderland and singer and administrator to the Palatine Opera Group. He has facilitated further support for amateur and semi-professional performers, including University activities, through the North-Eastern Committee of the National Federation of Music Societies of which he has been both secretary and, since 2002, chairman.

    Sir John Pattison

    An Honorary Doctorate of Science will be bestowed upon Sir John Pattison who is one of the best known personalities in the field of Medicine who began his academic training at Barnard Castle School in County Durham before he qualified in Medicine at the University of Oxford in 1968.

    During his distinguished career he has held the posts of Professor of Medical Microbiology at University College London, Dean of UCL Medical School until 1998 and Vice Provost of UCL in 1994. He was Chairman of the Physiological Medicine and Infection Board at the Medical Research Council from 1992 to 1995 and has held a number of honorary appointments including the current positions of Honorary Consultant at the Public Health Laboratory Service and University College Hospitals NHS Trust.

    From 1995 to 1999 he was chairman of the Government's advisory committee on BSE and CJD and in 1996 broke the news about the first human cases of variant CJD. He is currently the Director of Research and Development at the Department of Health in England but at times in his 5 years there he has also been responsible for IT and Genetics. He was knighted in 1998 for his services to Medicine.

    Dr John Bridge

    The Honorary Degree of Doctor of Civil Law goes to Dr John Bridge who is an economist who has worked in the public, private and academic sectors for over the last 35 years.

    He already holds degrees from Durham University and Indiana University. He is Chairman of Endeavour SCH PLC, a private sector consortium managing one of the largest health PFI projects in England. He is Chairman of the Land Restoration Trust, Chairman of NES General Partner Ltd and Chairman of Northern Sights Ltd. He sits on the Boards of the Tanfield Group, (Kenmore (UK) Ltd and is a non-Executive Director of Watson Burton LLP. He is a consultant of PricewaterhouseCooper LLP.

    He is a visiting Professor at Durham Business School and Newcastle Business School. He was until December 2003, the founding Chairman of One NorthEast (the RDA for the North East of England) and also sat on the Boards of English Partnerships and UK Trade and Investment. He has also worked recently on Government advisory groups dealing with aviation policy and urban regeneration and was a member of the Treasury's Advisory Council for Partnerships (UK). He is Chairman of Durham Cathedral Council, and a Lay Canon of the Cathedral. He is Chairman of the Alnwick Garden Trust, regional Chairman of the National Trust for the North East and Yorkshire, Chairman of the Calvert Trust Kielder and Chairman of the Spirit of Enterprise.

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