Honorary Degrees and Fellowships

We are awarding a total of 5 University Fellowships and Honorary Doctorates during Graduation 2021.

Honorary Doctorates    

An honorary degree is one of higher education’s most significant accolades. They are awarded on a selective basis to distinguished individuals who merit special recognition for achievement and distinction in a field or activity connected with the mission of the University. Holders of honorary degrees provide inspiration to students, as examples of success in a variety of ways. They also enhance the University’s profile on a national and international stage.

In 2021, the University of Worcester is awarding honorary doctorates to:       

Andria Zafirakou MBE 

Andria Zafirakou MBE

Andria Zafirakou, a teacher at Alperton Community School in Brent, was crowned the best teacher in the world when in 2018 she won the Global Teacher Prize. 

Born in north-west London to Greek-Cypriot parents and state-educated in Brent and Camden, Andria began her career as an art and textiles teacher in her home suburb, one of the world’s most ethnically diverse places.  

Passionate about education and changing the lives of young people and underserved communities through creativity, she has worked her entire teaching career of 16 years at Alperton Community School is now an Associate Deputy Headteacher leading on Staff Development, Diversity and Transitions. 

Using the $1m prize money awarded by the Global Teacher prize, Andria founded a charity called Artists in Residence (AiR) with an aim to improve arts education in schools.   

Named in the top 10 of The Evening Standard's 1,000 Londoners List, Andria is a Culture Leader for the World Economic Forum as well as a member of their Global Future Leaders Council.  She sits on the Advisory board for the Cultural Leaders Alliance, Art UK and was the winner of the prestigious GIWA (Greek International Women's award) for Arts and Culture in 2021.  Her debut and best-selling book “Those who can, Teach” was published by Bloomsbury in April 2021. 

University Fellowships

A University Fellowship is bestowed upon persons of distinction or those who have rendered significant service to the University or to the community. Fellows join the University’s College of Fellows, which provides opportunities for the individual to support the University in ways that reflect their particular areas of expertise and experience, be that providing work placement opportunities for students, or guest lecturing, among many other ways. They serve as Ambassadors for the University, enhancing the University’s influence in the national and international communities.

In 2021, University Fellowships will be bestowed upon:

Chris Bright 

Chris Bright

Chris Bright is a Welsh Futsal International, health advocate, recognised leader and coach. His work involves a deeply personal connection to enhancing the provision and support for those living with chronic illnesses within sport and physical activity. Chris is passionate about raising awareness and educating upon invisible disabilities, whilst also enhancing the provision offered to this population within sport.  

Born in High Wycombe and raised in Redditch, Chris was dealt a difficult diagnosis at the age of 8 as he discovered he had developed a lifelong condition called Type 1 Diabetes. Instead of allowing this to negatively impact upon his life, Chris used the condition to fuel his motivation to achieve and help others like him.  

Chris graduated from the University of Worcester with a BSc in Sports Studies in 2012. Following his bachelor’s degree Chris spent some time in a commercial business, before his international success within Futsal prompted him to realise his desire to help others like him by founding The Diabetes Football Community, a peer support community designed to provide support, information and inspiration for those living with Diabetes passionate about Football. This decision led Chris to further his academic journey with the University of Worcester by returning to study for an MRes in Socio-Cultural studies of Sport & Exercise, where his research focussed upon the development and growth of The Diabetes Football Community to help develop further understanding upon the impact of chronic illness in sport. During this time Chris also represented the University’s Futsal team, helping them on the way to winning the midlands conference cup in 2018, in a year which also saw him represent the England Universities Futsal squad and win the prestigious Male Athlete of the Year award at the university.  

As an athlete and leader focussed on the impact of invisible conditions within Sport, Chris’ work has taken him across Europe. This has led to recognition locally for The Diabetes Football Community winning the grassroots project of the year in 2019 through the Worcestershire FA, whilst also seeing Chris feature on TV and in national initiatives such as We Are Undefeatable, a campaign to encourage people with long term conditions to continue to participate in physical activity.  


Christopher Burdon B.Met C.Eng MIMMM 


In February 2011, Chris Burdon was appointed Chair Designate to lead the creation of a new NHS organisation to bring together the provision of mental health and community services in Worcestershire. 

Later that year, the new NHS Trust – now known as Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust following its expansion to encompass mental health services in Herefordshire -  was established and from then until March of this year Chris remained Chair. 

The Trust is now widely regarded as successful and high performing, recognised both for the excellence of the services delivered and its strong financial record. With revenues of over £200 million and more than 4,000 employees it also plays a significant role in the local economy. 

A metallurgist by profession, Chris graduated from the University of Sheffield in 1971 with a First Class Honours degree in Metallurgy, having also been awarded the Sheffield Metallurgical Association prize, the H C Hall prize in Metallurgy, and the de Belin prize in Metallography. Chris became a Chartered Engineer in 1983 and went on to become a Member of the Institute of Materials, Minerals, and Mining. 

An early career in metallurgical research was followed by senior executive positions in the metal processing sector most recently with Bradken, an Australian plc, with responsibility for worldwide activity in the Power Generation and Cement Production markets and the management of three sites in the UK. In total, Chris has 30 years of Board level experience, much as Chief Executive or equivalent.  

He retired from business life in 2008 and was appointed to the Board of Worcestershire Primary Care Trust, serving for two years before undertaking his most recent NHS role. 


Anna Hooper

Anna Hooper

Anna Hooper was born in Cheshire, one of four sisters, where her parents had settled for her father’s work as a radiologist in Manchester.  After reading English at Durham University she went to London to pursue a career in book publishing, starting with a job in Production and Design and learning typography and printing at evening classes. 

She moved to an editing and marketing role with William Heinemann Children’s Books which included broadening the scope and reach of books in a strong library market and developing commercial opportunities, and went on to chair the Children’s Book Circle, an interest group of children’s book publishers.  

Anna became interested in Adult Education as a result of a project with the then Commission for Racial Equality who were looking for ways to support children for whom English was a second language.  Her firm went on to publish the popular Spot the Dog books in dual language editions, starting with Gujurati, Turkish and Urdu, to help develop language and literacy skills in the Early Years.   

After 10 years in publishing, and by then married to Toby and with three young children, she retrained as a teacher in adult literacy and spent her time devising courses to enable adults to access education from a complex range of personal circumstances.    

She developed the GCSE English course as an alternative route to the national curriculum for adult learners working with the AQA Examining Board, where she was a Senior Examiner, on the reading syllabus.  For four years from 2003, Anna developed work-based learning programmes with the Community Care Services and, as part of the team, won a TOPSS award for the Most Innovative Multi-Training Agency in Social Care nationwide.   

In 2007 Anna moved to Worcester when Toby was appointed a Circuit Judge for Worcester and Hereford and continued to work with AQA. Through the Worcester Volunteer Centre she was introduced to the mentoring programme within Worcestershire schools and the adult education programme then based at the YMCA here. 

In 2011, she was appointed to the Board of Governors at the University of Worcester and was Vice Chair from 2018-2021.  She also served as a governor and trustee of The Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford from 2014-2017. 


Simon Trickett 

Simon Trickett

Simon Trickett is the Chief Executive of NHS Herefordshire and Worcestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) as well as the Executive Lead for the Integrated Care System, roles he has held since 2018. 

Prior to that, Simon was Chief Executive of the four CCGs within the two counties and has also held Board roles in previous local NHS provider and commissioning organisations.  

Simon has led the local health and care system response in Herefordshire and Worcestershire throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, most recently leading the vaccination programme that has seen the local area consistently achieve some of the highest uptake and vaccination rates within the country.  

Prior to starting his NHS career in 2008, Simon held a number of senior local government roles both locally and in the West Midlands region. More latterly he has also worked closely with the University to progress the development of the Three Counties Medical School which was recently given the go ahead by the General Medical Council to begin recruiting students to start their studies next year. 

Simon lives in Stourport on Severn with his wife and two children.