A celebrated chef, one of the region’s leading fire officers and a dedicated public health professional were celebrated today with honorary degrees at the University of Chester’s graduation ceremony.
Simon Radley will receive an honorary degree of Master of Arts (MA) in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the City of Chester as the Executive Chef at the Chester Grosvenor.
Now in his third “season” at The Chester Grosvenor, Simon Radley first joined the hotel in June 1986 as a 21-year-old Chef. Temporarily leaving the team to broaden his experience, he returned in March 1988 as a Sous Chef within the newly formed fine dining restaurant, The Arkle. The following year, the restaurant achieved its Michelin star.
After one more stint away, Simon was asked to return in 1998 as Executive Chef and has remained there ever since.
The award winning restaurant, now re-named Simon Radley at the Chester Grosvenor, has held its Michelin star for 29 consecutive years, a record achievement in the North West. Also holding four AA Rosettes it has also been voted Best Hotel Restaurant at the European Hospitality Awards 2015 and Good Food Guide top 50 2019. Committed to the next generation of talent, Simon’s greatest achievement is perhaps the creation and development of the Simon Radley Kitchen Academy, which offers apprenticeships to 10 aspiring chefs each year. Now in its sixth year, the Academy has earned a reputation for the quality of training that it provides to young people, and the opportunity to join Simon’s team on a full-time basis at the end of the 18 month programme.
He said: “To be awarded an honorary degree by the University is not only a privilege, but quite literally the icing on the cake for what has ostensibly been a labour of love for collectively some 27 years of my life.”
Paul Hancock will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Science (DSc) in recognition of his outstanding contribution as Chief Fire Officer of Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and as President of the Chief Fire Officers Association.
Paul joined Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service in 1985 as a firefighter and subsequently served in a variety of operational and technical roles, including Station and Area Command, progressing to Assistant Chief Fire Officer with responsibility for Integrated Risk Management Planning, Community Risk Management (Prevention and Protection), ICT, Projects and Business Continuity.
Paul moved to Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service in 2007 as Deputy Chief Officer with responsibility for Emergency Response, Human Resources, ICT and Asset Management and was appointed Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive in September 2009. Between April 2016 and July 2017 Paul was also the Chief Fire Officer of Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service in a shared Chief Fire Officer arrangement between the two services.
In addition to his responsibilities within Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service, Paul was the President of the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOA) during 2015/16. During his term as President, he led the transformation of CFOA to the National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) and played a key role in the transfer of the fire and rescue service nationally to the Home Office from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG).
Paul also chaired the Cheshire and Warrington Public Service Reform Programme Board for a number of years and was the Project Director for the North West Fire Control Project.
Paul has a Master’s in Business Administration, is a Fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Central Lancashire. He was awarded the Queen’s Fire Service Medal in 2014.
Paul also played rugby union for England and Great Britain Fire Services. He recently retired from the fire and rescue service and has taken up the role of Chair and Trustee for Active Cheshire.
He said: “I am delighted and feel incredibly honoured to be receiving an award from the University. I have been privileged to work with some amazing people over the years and I would very much like to thank them for being part of my journey. I would also like to thank the University for its generosity in bestowing upon me an Honorary Doctor of Science. It means a great deal to me.”
Dr Janet Atherton OBE will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in recognition of her outstanding contribution to public health services.
Passionate about public health, Janet trained in medicine and public health at the Newcastle University before moving to the Wirral to take up her first consultant post. She has extensive experience working as a Director of Public Health in both the NHS and local government, first in Wirral and latterly in Sefton. She was instrumental in the development of Champs – the Cheshire and Merseyside Public Health Network which enables partners across the area to collaborate effectively to improve health. She also established and chaired Smokefree North West, later to become Tobacco Free Futures and Healthier Futures, a partnership aiming to make smoking history for children in the North West. This partnership was influential in smokefree legislation and subsequent
legislation increasing the age of sale to 18 and banning point of sale displays for tobacco.
She was elected President of the Association of Directors of Public Health UK from 2012 to 2015, playing a leading role in the transition of public health from the NHS into local government during her presidency. She has also advised the House of Commons Health Select Committee.
She was awarded OBE for services to public health in 2015, and since then has focussed on enabling others to improve the health and wellbeing of the people they serve, through her roles as Senior Adviser to Public Health England and systems leadership consultancy.
She is a trustee for Cycling UK, the national cycling charity that is aiming to get millions more people cycling. She also volunteers at a local level as a ride leader with Wirral Bicycle Belles and established the successful Women’s Festival of Cycling rides in Wirral.
She is also a Board Member for Alpha Living – a provider of older people’s housing operating across the Wirral and across the North.
She said: “I am extremely honoured to be recognised by the University through the award of an honorary doctorate. I am very much looking forward to developing stronger links with the University and offering my support in helping students as they begin their