A MUCH-LOVED writer and a leading figure in North East politics and business are to be honoured by one of the region’s universities.
Harry Pearson and Sir Ian Wrigglesworth are among eight people to get honorary degrees next month from Teesside University.
Harry, who grew up in Middlesbrough but now lives near Hexham in Northumberland, is to become a Doctor of Letters.
Best known for his book about North East football, The Far Corner, Harry has also written about cricket, rural life and the North East. His latest book has recently been serialised in The Journal.
He said: “I am very pleased and surprised to be receiving this honorary degree. I’ve never been to university, so it was my only chance of getting a degree!
“I’ve actually had a look through the list of others who have received them. I noticed Paul Rodgers of rock band Free also received one. Everyone else on the list has contributed to society, I’ve just messed around, so it’s nice.”
Sir Ian, who is originally from Stockton and served as an MP on Teesside from 1974 to 1981, will be receiving a Doctor of Business Administration.
After leaving Parliament, Sir Ian held a number of prominent roles including the founder chairman of the Newcastle Gateshead Initiative, chairman of the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art, deputy chairman of the Regional Growth Fund and chairman of Port of Tyne.
He said: “I am delighted to be receiving this, I am thrilled to bits to have a degree in my home area.
“I was a student in Teesside and worked in Middlesbrough. It is nice to be recognised at home.”
This will be the second time he has been given an honorary degree as in December 2011, Northumbria University awarded Sir Ian with an honorary doctorate in music.
Also receiving honorary degrees from Teesside in November will be Bill Scott, founder and chief executive of engineering company the Wilton Group, sociology professor Bev Skeggs, Arts Council chief executive Alan Davey, international development expert Lord Crisp and businessman Steven Purdham.
All the honorary graduates were born on Teesside or have links to the area.
In addition, the university is to award an honorary degree to celebrity interior designer Eric Leong at a graduation ceremony in the Malaysian city of Kuala Lumpur.
He is being honoured after visiting the university last year to open its MA Design Show and spending 10 days working with students and holding a series of workshops and masterclasses.
Everyone else on the list has contributed to society, I’ve just messed around, so it’s nice