St Helens-born Ray French MBE - who represented his country at international level in both rugby union and rugby league and combined his sport and media careers with a 34-year teaching career – has been made an Honorary Doctor of Arts at Edge Hill University.
Addressing the graduands, many of whom were receiving teaching degrees, he recounted tales from his years in both teaching and international rugby, and had some words of wisdom to offer.
“Enjoy your subject – I did – and enjoy making use of the wealth of subject knowledge that Edge Hill has given you,” he said.
“But also immerse yourself in your school or workplace beyond the limits of your subject.
“Engage with your pupils and colleagues and you will develop friendships for life.
“Your pupils will learn more about you and develop interests in life that you give them – both your lives will be enhanced together.
“Show humility in all that you do but above all have confidence in yourself, a belief that what you are doing is right. Be confident in your work.”
In addition to his teaching and rugby careers, Ray French is also a coach, TV and radio commentator, author and columnist.
The majority of his career as an English teacher was spent at Cowley High School in St Helens.
Dr John Cater, Vice-Chancellor at Edge Hill University said: “I am so pleased that we are honouring Ray French - for his acclaimed achievements as a former rugby union and rugby league international player – who attained the rare honour of representing his country at international level in both codes of the game.
“In addition we are honouring Ray French - the coach, TV and radio commentator, author, columnist, – who combined his sport and media careers with a teaching career lasting 34 years.”