TWO more famous names have joined Jessica Ennis, Jarvis Cocker and Michael Palin in receiving an honorary degree from Sheffield Hallam University.
Opera singer Lesley Garrett and children’s author Michael Morpurgo were both honoured for their professional achievements.
“This is an amazing day,” much-loved South Yorkshire soprano Lesley told The Star.
“The last time I was in the City Hall, I was dancing with Anton Du Beke. This is an enormous honour!”
Michael said: “It’s very strange to come and don these robes alongside people just starting out in their careers - it’s a true honour.”
Lesley’s award recognises her service to the arts while Michael received his for service to children’s literature.
The honour kick-starts an exciting few weeks for Michael, who will see the film adaptation of his most well-known book, War Horse, hit the big screen this Christmas.
“I’m sure it will be good, since they managed to get that Spielberg fellow to direct it, I’ve heard he’s not bad,” the 68-year-old joked.
“I visited the set two or three times and he’s a master at work, probably the best cinematic storyteller of our time.”
Michael added that receiving the award in Sheffield is doubly special as he has a strong connection to the city.
“I’ve won the children’s book prize here a couple of times and the children are very special,” said the author,” he said.
“I’ve been in many shows and concerts in Sheffield and have family here too, so I truly love the place.”
Lesley is no stranger to the Steel City either. “This city means so much to me, my family have been connected with it for years,” said the 56-year-old.
“Receiving it alongside all these wonderful young peope is fantastic. It makes me think of when I was starting out and I remember it like it was last week!
“My advice to them all is to find your niche, embrace your individuality, work hard and then go out there into the world and give it to them!”
Michael said it was a long road which brought him the success he now enjoys and said university graduates need to remember life is not a straight dash.
“I got here in the end, which is all that matters,” he said.
“You miss-step, embrace your mistakes, make the most of every opportunity and, most importantly, have hope and determination.
“Just remember this is only the beginning, the fun is yet to come.”