Comedian-turned-actor Johnny Vegas has been made an honorary doctor of literature by Edge Hill University.
The St Helens-born comic has become a household name for his unique brand of stand-up and for television roles such as playing Geoff “The Oracle” Maltby in the ITV sitcom Benidorn and regular appearances on comedy panel shows QI and 8 Out of 10 Cats.
He said: “I’d love to thank Edge Hill for having confidence in me and inviting me along today. I’ll have to visit my old English teacher to show her the award – it pretty much belongs to her!
“The hardest thing I ever did was write a book (his recently published memoir, Becoming Johnny Vegas).
“Outside of my son and loved ones, it is one of my proudest achievements and I honestly can’t tell you what it means to now have an honorary doctorate in literature.”
Addressing today’s graduates and teachers Johnny, whose real name is Michael Pennington, added: “You, as teachers, are more important than ever. Education should be available to all rather than a luxury, and the responsibility falls on you to inspire the people you teach, especially those who may see college or university as unavailable to them, to pursue it.
“Education is what determines us as a society and a civilization. You will make a difference to so many people’s lives.
“You are the lifeblood and we need your skills - take them and share them.”
.for the benefit of all of us.”