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Sportspeople, entrepreneurs, television presenters, a Bake Off star and Dennis Pennis to collect honorary degrees and awards from NTU

Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has announced the recipients of its 2021 honorary degrees and awards, which will be presented during graduation ceremonies taking place from 13-17 December.

Paul Kaye
Paul Kaye

Louise Cooke is Founder and CEO of Sharewear Clothing Scheme. Following a period at NTU studying Modern European Studies and Spanish, Louise taught languages before a life-changing volunteering trip to the favelas of Sao Paulo sowed the first seed for the creation of Sharewear Clothing Scheme.

Sharewear provides clothing free of charge to people in economic difficulty, saving pre-and post-consumer clothing waste from landfill or incineration at the same time. In 2017 Louise was awarded with the One Nottingham Award by Nottingham City Council for her contribution to the Voluntary Sector, and in 2021 she was listed by The Independent as one of 50 people inspiring change in the UK.

Paul Kaye is an actor and comedian who is best known for his anarchic television character Dennis Pennis. Paul graduated from Trent Polytechnic in 1987 with a 1st class degree in Theatre Design.

Paul worked as a scene painter, a graphic designer and an illustrator before creating the character Dennis Pennis which first appeared on BBC 2’s The Sunday Show in 1995. He worked in TV comedy throughout the 1990s and was nominated for a couple of British Comedy Awards. In 2004, he starred in the film It’s All Gone Pete Tong, playing the deaf DJ Frankie Wilde. The movie won numerous awards around the world including Best Film at the Toronto Film Festival 2004 and Best Actor at the US Comedy Arts Festival. His television credits include Game of Thrones, After Life, The Stranger, the multi BAFTA award winning Three Girls, Pulling and Inside Number 9.

Paul has also worked extensively on stage, performing at both the National Theatre and the Royal Court. He played Mr Wormwood in the original cast of the RSC’s Matilda The Musical where he was nominated for an Olivier Award for best Supporting Actor.

Dr Champa Patel is the Director of Innovation and Deputy Director, Future of Conflict programme for the International Crisis Group, working on climate, tech and economic drivers and aspects of conflict.  Formerly, she was Director of the Asia-Pacific Programme at Chatham House managing policy research on the region. Before joining Chatham House, she held several roles at Amnesty International overseeing human rights research, advocacy and campaigns. She also worked in public health for almost a decade, focusing on children at-risk, refugees, asylum seekers and internal trafficking. She is a board member for the International Detention Coalition and Environmental Funders Network, and on the Editorial Board of Human Rights Quarterly.

Dr Patel graduated from NTU with a BA (Hons) Humanities in 1998.

Carly Telford is an England and Chelsea Football Player. She started playing football when she was seven and started her youth England career for the under-17s. She made her senior England debut against Scotland aged 18 and went to her first World Cup a year later. At the age of 23 she moved to Chelsea and in 2014 joined Notts County whilst returning to university at NTU to study BA (Hons) Media. She joined Chelsea again in 2017, and has since won multiple leagues, FA Cups and league cups. She participated in the 2019 World Cup, as well as the Tokyo Olympics and is currently coaching/playing at Chelsea.

Professor Edward Peck, Vice-Chancellor of Nottingham Trent University, said: “I welcome the opportunity to award honorary degrees in recognition of some incredible people who have made important contributions to this University, and all of whom are former students, and the wider local community. They will be an inspiration to our graduates when they address them at the graduation ceremonies where they will receive their awards”.

Selasi Gbormittah
Selasi Gbormittah

The University’s Awards for Outstanding Alumni will be presented to former students Selasi Gbormittah, Great British Bake-Off Semi-Finalist in 2016, Amy Voce, Radio Presenter at Virgin Radio, Ajay Tegala, wildlife television presenter and Sarah Turner, eco-artist and designer.

Ghanaian born Selasi Gbormittah has always had a love for cooking, and food has played a huge part in his life. Whilst at NTU studying for a BA (Hons) in Economics and Financial Services, he would often cook for friends and housemates.

Selais took part in The Great British Bake Off in 2016 where he was a semi-finalist. Since his appearance, he has successfully completed scholarships at Switzerland’s Culinary Arts Academy and The Ritz Paris and has an Advanced Professional Diploma in Swiss Pastry and Chocolate Arts.

He occasionally appears on ITV and on BBC’s Saturday Kitchen and has successfully run pop ups - afternoon tea at Dukes Hotel, Mayfair and supper clubs. He has gained culinary writing experience through recipes and columns for magazines and global brands.

Amy Voce began her career in radio whilst still finishing her BA (Hons) in Communication Studies at Nottingham Trent University. Now a Sony and Radio Academy Gold award winning broadcaster, Amy presents her own music radio show six days a week on Virgin Radio alongside Chris Evans and Graham Norton.

For fifteen years before that, Amy made up the award-winning duo ‘Sam and Amy’ on Heart 106 which later became Gem 106. In 2013 they won their first prestigious Gold Sony Award for Best Breakfast Show, and two more Sony Awards in the following years, alongside numerous Arqiva and Aria awards.  Amy has also covered shows on BBC Radio 2 and Magic FM.

Amy produced, presented and launched her own podcast Two Non Blondes; a female focussed humorous take on women’s issues, exploring topics from social and cultural pressures to relationships, along with interviews with inspiring and celebrity guests.

Ajay Tegala is a wildlife television presenter, voice-over artist, countryside ranger, conservationist and naturalist.He has a degree in Environmental Conservation and Countryside Management from NTU. Since graduating in 2011, Ajay has worked in nature conservation. Ajay has presented the primetime BBC wildlife documentary Inside the Bat Cave alongside Lucy Cooke and worked with Chris Packham on Springwatch 2021 with other television credits including Countryfile, Coast, Winterwatch plus a live appearance on Springwatch: Unsprung.

Ajay currently works on Britain’s very first nature reserve, Wicken Fen alongside a host of special wildlife including important wetland bird populations that he protects, manages and monitors. He also oversees 100 Konik ponies and 50 Highland cattle that graze reclaimed fenland, part of an ambitious re-wildling project that has been running for over two decades.

In 2019, Ajay was the National Trust’s featured Ranger.

Sarah Turner is an eco-artist and designer who upcycles waste materials into new and beautiful creations.  She works mostly with plastic bottles and cans, transforming them into unique lighting, pictures, sculptures, flowers and gifts.  All of Sarah’s work is made in her studio in Nottingham by Sarah and her small team from waste materials she collects from local homes and businesses.

Whilst studying for her BA (Hons) in Furniture and Product Design, Sarah worked part time in a coffee shop.  She noticed that massive amounts of plastic bottles were thrown away so decided to collect them and see what she could create.  Now over 13 years later, Sarah's beautiful eco designs have been exhibited internationally at prestigious shows in London, Milan, Paris, LA, Baku and locally in Nottingham where she is based.

Sportspeople, entrepreneurs, television presenters, a Bake Off star and Dennis Pennis to collect honorary degrees and awards from NTU

Published on 29 November 2021
  • Category: Press office

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