Students to graduate with crime fiction writer Martina Cole and other distinguished honoraries in Chelmsford

Published: 24 October 2008 at 12:01

Bernard Ribiero CBE, Vijay and Bhikhu Patel, Professor Sir David Hall, Dr Jerome Booth, Joanna Killian, Andrew Smith, Baroness Young and Julie Spence will also be honoured.

Over 1500 university students will graduate during three days of ceremonies staged by Anglia Ruskin University at Chelmsford Cathedral from 25-27 November.

The many Anglia Ruskin University graduates will be marking the completion of various degree courses at the University. They represent all five faculties within the University: the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences, the Ashcroft International Business School, the Faculty of Health and Social Care, the Faculty of Science and Technology and the Faculty of Education.

Anglia Ruskin University’s Vice Chancellor Professor Michael Thorne said:

"These hard-working, high calibre graduates are leaving us armed with the confidence and relevant academic qualifications they need to start or accelerate their careers.  We wish them every success in their chosen endeavours and hope they will be inspired by the stories of our distinguished honorary graduates to go on to emulate their success."

Essex-born Martina Cole will receive an honorary degree from the Faculty of Arts, Law and Social Sciences alongside many students who will be budding writers.  Martina Cole is an author who is unique in literary circles.  She is an Essex writer, writing crime fiction about Essex people that in places mirrors her own life. Her novels are described as being ‘gritty, gripping and unforgettable’.

She has written over 14 best-selling novels featuring hard-hitting criminals, prostitutes and violence including Faces, Close, The Graft, The Know, Maura’s Game, Faceless, Broken, Two Women, The Runaway, The Jump, The Take and others. Her overarching mantra, if you want it bad enough – take it, is simple to understand and her fans are growing to know and love her and her characters more with each and every novel offering.

Born in 1958 into a large Irish Catholic family, Martina was brought up in Aveley, Essex. She attended a convent school until she was expelled at the age of 15 and by 17 Martina was pregnant. She, like her characters, redeems her life but not immediately.

Martina’s first manuscript stayed in a drawer for a decade until someone told her that when you’re old ... it’s the things you didn’t do you regret, not the things you did. So she picked out an agent and landed her first £150,000 publishing deal.

For someone who writes about crime and violence, she is fiercely anti-violence, working with organisations such as Chelmsford Women’s Aid to help them raise awareness about some of the issues that are raised in her books.

Other Honorary Doctorate awards presented to various individuals in recognition of their outstanding achievements. 

On 25 November, Bernard Ribeiro CBE will be honoured. He has recently celebrated his retirement from a career that has spanned over 40 years in healthcare.  His contribution to medicine, as an ‘outstanding’ surgeon and voice of the profession during the worst ever crisis to hit junior doctor training, has been felt nationally and internationally.

He officially retired from his post as Consultant General Surgeon at Basildon University Hospital, a part of Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in March 2008. The Trust, at the time, described him as, ‘one of their most distinguished and long-serving clinicians’. 

In addition to his timely retirement from hospital life - during the year the NHS is celebrating 60 years of service – he has also completed three highly proactive years as President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, a post he was appointed to in 2005. 

During his career, he pioneered the use of invasive ‘keyhole’ surgery and helped to establish an advanced laparoscopic unit at Basildon & Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. He was awarded the CBE for his ‘immeasurable’ services to medicine, in 2004.

At a later ceremony, Vijay and Bhikhu Patel will be receiving a joint award for being ‘inspirational leaders within the healthcare sector’. Born into poverty in Africa, the brothers have combined their, drive and determination to create the highly successful global pharmaceutical company Waymade Healthcare.

Although now part of a truly international company, Waymade still employs several hundred people at its office in Basildon, and the group has recently completed a number of deals with multinationals giving them rights to sell products throughout Europe, the Middle and Far East, Australia and New Zealand, and most recently in Latin America.  In total their products are available in more than 100 countries.

An award will also go to Professor Sir David Hall, who has a long association with Anglia Ruskin University’s Faculty of Health and Social Care, is nationally and internationally recognised for his work on aspects of community child health. He is Emeritus Professor of Community Paediatrics at the University of Sheffield, and former President of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health. Sir David’s interests include child neurological disability, prevention and early identification, service development and NHS research. 

Within the voluntary sector, he has been involved with a huge range of organisations and campaigns, including Contact a Family, Children’s Head Injury Trust, UNICEF, WellChild, WhizzKidz and SCOPE. It is the extent of his work, representing the interests of children, which earned Sir David the honour of his knighthood in 2003. 

On 26 November, Dr Jerome Booth will be honoured for his success in the risky world of international finance.  He is head of research for the Ashmore Group plc, a world leading emerging markets investments company valued at £2 billion last year. The group is listed on main LSE market, FTSE250 company and Jerome is the second largest shareholder.

He is a member of the Investment Committee and the ‘public face’ of the company, regularly contributing to and quoted by the world’s financial press to comment on the ever-changing situation financial situation impacting on countries like Russia or continents including Asia.The current Ashmore funds have over 1,800 investors across its investment themes, with a predominantly institutional investor base which includes pension plans, central banks and other government agencies, financial institutions and corporates.

Also receiving awards on the day will be Joanna Killian and Andrew Smith.

Joanna Killian will be the recipient of another honour bestowed by the University, for her achievements in the world of service delivery.

She joined Essex County Council as Director for Finance and Performance in March 2005, taking on a wider brief of Director for Policy, Resources and Performance three months later. She started her role as Acting Chief Executive in June 2006 and was appointed Chief Executive in September 2006, the first woman to hold the post, aged 41.  She leads a ten-strong corporate leadership team and has a close working relationship with the Leader of the Council, Lord Hanningfield, who is a strong advocate of community leadership within and outside Essex.

On 1st October 2007 she also took responsibility as Chief Executive for Brentwood District Council with a mandate to secure seamless and efficient services for customers and taxpayers across the tiers in this locality of Essex. It is the first such arrangement in the country.

Andrew Smith is a headteacher who is known, admired and highly respected by the families, communities and the professional communities to which he contributes.

He is known within the education sector for his gift of turning schools

around, making a particularly significant contribution to children from Essex. His first experience of this was at Melbourne Park Primary School, where he brought the school out of causing concern to the local authority, turning it into a thriving hub of learning for pupils and their families which raised local community aspirations. Then Andrew moved to Lyons Hall Primary School in Braintree, where his task was different.  His priorities were to remodel the curriculum for a growing school, develop the management and leadership capability, raise standards of achievement, and create links with other schools which he did to great effect. 

On 27 November, Martina Cole, Baroness Young and Julie Spence will receive awards.

Baroness Scott Young, or Baroness Young of Old Scone as she is also known, has worked within the health service before ‘weathering’ the recent storms of the Environment Agency.

She is someone who loves a challenge and who is driven to succeed in everything she does which is why she has achieved so much over the years of her career. She has two facets to her work.  She is an extremely successful leader and manager. She also sits on the cross benches of the House of Lords. Most recently as Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, she has faced tough questioning herself, over the devastating effects of recent storms, however, this did not stop her from feeling justifiably proud of the many and varied achievements she accomplished as the ‘woman in charge’.

Baroness Young, was born in Perth in 1948, not far from ‘Old Scone’ which is located just outside Perth, and the home of the Baroness.  She spent her formative years in Scotland, receiving her early education at the Perth Academy before turning to higher education at the Universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde.  She studied Classics and Business.

In April, this year, Health Secretary Alan Johnson announced the appointment of Baroness Young as shadow Chair of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) which is the new body that regulates health and adult social care.

Barbara Young is described as ‘bright, vibrant and energetic’. She is known for getting on with the job which for her is usually harnessing organisations with her strong leadership to deliver benefits for people or the environment.

Julie Spence OBE completes the line up for the 2008 honoraries on the third day of graduations. As Chief Constable of Cambridgeshire Police, Julie has broken down every ‘glass barrier’ that exists to women to get where she is today and she has helped and inspired many of her colleagues do the same.

While being at the frontline of the community, helping to improve the   county’s experience of policing, she is also a leading light within a number of key organisations in the UK, and around the world.  She sits on the Association of Chief Police Officers’ Cabinet and is President of the British Association for Women in Policing. Julie Spence was awarded an OBE in 2006 for championing women police.

At Thames Valley Police, where she worked before joining Cambridgeshire in 2004, she led an operation to protect Heathrow airport, in partnership with the Metropolitan and Surrey forces and handled the policing operation for the Queen Mother’s funeral.  Within her professional career, she has also worked with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) on royalty and VIP protection and counter terrorism tactics.