Musician Jerry Dammers given honorary doctorate by Sheffield Hallam University

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A musician and human rights campaigner has been given a honorary doctorate by a Sheffield University.

Jerry Dammers, founder of Coventry ska band The Specials and the 2 Tone record label, has been given the honour by Sheffield Hallam University.

Dammers’ role in Artists Against Apartheid and the Mandela Tribute Concert contributed to huge international pressure to bring apartheid to an end in South Africa. It is a contribution for which Dammers was recognised by the South African government, through the award of the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo in April 2014.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Philip Jones, and Professor Roger Eccleston, Pro Vice-Chancellor of the University’s Faculty of Arts, Computing, Engineering, presented the award to Jerry in front of hundreds of students from the faculty and their guests.

On receiving the award, Jerry said: “I’d like to thank everyone involved in awarding me this. It really is very much appreciated that people appreciate some of the things I’ve tried to do.”

Jerry, who studied a fine art course before forming The Specials, gave students some words of advice during his acceptance speech. He said: “Whether you’re working in art, design, music, fashion – whether you’re trying to be completely original or do something traditional – try and do it properly. Pay attention to detail and make sure it’s how you intended it to be.

“Ultimately, as always, you may have to fall back on the enjoyment you get from being creative and, if you enjoy it, there’s the best chance that will communicate to other people.”