Chelmsford: Essex Agricultural Society chair among those honoured at Writtle College graduation ceremonies featuring TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh

A sugar beet crop being sprayed

A sugar beet crop being sprayed - Credit: Submitted

TV gardener Alan Titchmarsh and chair of Essex Agricultural Society Rosemary Padfield were among those taking part in graduation ceremonies at Writtle college in Chelmsford yesterday

More than 430 Writtle College students are graduating over yesterday and today at a series of three ceremonies at Chelmsford cathedral.

College Patron and TV horticulturist, Alan Titchmarsh MBE and Professor Anthony Forster, Vice Chancellor of the University of Essex, have honoured undergraduate and postgraduate students from courses in Agriculture, Conservation, Floristry, Horticulture and Management in the first ceremony and Writtle School of Design in the second.

Alan Titchmarsh gave graduates 30 golden rules for life including wearing deodorant every day and getting at least six hours of sleep every night, not sleeping with the boss - or boss’s wife or husband, jobs to avoid at all costs, the guidance that ‘if you’re bored, move on’ and advice to smile regularly – and to avoid all advice from people who say there are 30 golden rules for life.

The TV star, who became Writtle College patron in 2001, finished his address to those at his thirteenth Writtle College graduation ceremony, with: “Good luck and remember when it comes to Higher Education, the only way is Essex.”

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This year, 28 students achieved First Class degrees and three students gained PhDs. Writtle College’s international community includes students from over 50 countries worldwide and this was reflected in our graduates this year, including those from Nigeria, Kenya, Norway, Japan, South Korea, Brunei, Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq.

The ceremonies are the first for new Principal Dr Stephen Waite. He highlighted the successes of the year, the college’s 120th anniversary, including the Students’ Union winning the Small and Specialist SU of the Year in the National Union of Students Awards 2013.

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An Honorary Fellowship of Writtle College was presented to Rosemary Padfield, Chair of Essex Agricultural Society, yesterday morning and Terry Gough, Head of Gardens and Estates for the Historic Royal Palaces, received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Essex.

Honouring undergraduate and postgraduate students from courses in Animal Science, Equine Science and Sport during today’s ceremony will be Professor Todd Landman, Executive Dean (Social Sciences) at the University of Essex.

The Duchess of Kent Academic Awards this year are for Amanda Rosier, section leader for FE Equine, and Dr Jon Amory, principal lecturer in animal behaviour and welfare, whose innovative cow tracking project has made the headlines. Meanwhile, Jo Hasnip received the Duchess of Kent Merit Award for her work on conferencing and events at the College.

The first Student-led Teaching Awards were presented this year, with Robin Gill, Dr Heidi Janicke, Dr John Morgan, Sandra Nicholson and Dr Jill Raggett, Sue Tracey and Dr Anya Perera honoured.

Learning and Teaching Enhancement Prizes were given to Yvonne Owen (Learning and Teaching Enhancement Prize - Student Engagement) and Sue Tracey (Learning and Teaching Enhancement Prize - Innovative Teaching Practice).

The Students’ Union RAG (Raise and Give) charities, the Horse Rescue Fund and Parkinsons UK, will receive cheques from the money raised from the year’s activities.

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