Daily Echo, Oct 10, 2007, by Clare Kennedy

A degree in honour of Mr Darcy


When actor Colin Firth takes centre stage in Winchester next week it will not be in a film, period drama or chat show.

Instead it will be when he puts on his ceremonial robes and collects his honorary degree from the University of Winchester.

Colin, who won the hearts of millions of female television viewers with his portrayal of Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, pictured, is no stranger to the city. He was born in Hampshire and educated in Winchester and both his parents worked as lecturers at the university.

His mother Shirley is well known in the local community for her work with the Winchester Visitors' Group, a voluntary organisation that offers help and support to asylum seekers and refugees.

Colin said: "The fact that I have had a long-standing personal association with the University of Winchester gives this award a special significance for me.

"I am tremendously proud of it."

University pro vice-chancellor Professor Chris Turner said: "We are thrilled that Colin Firth will be accepting an honorary degree from the University of Winchester at graduation this year.

"Colin has had an impact as both an actor of great substance but also as an involved supporter of projects around the world that take up the causes of the poor, the weak and the dispossessed; we honour him for both these roles."

Other University of Winchester honorary degree recipients this year include the TV personality and gardening expert Alan Titchmarsh, composer Sir John Tavener and author A S Byatt.

The University of Winchester graduation ceremonies take place from October 17 until October 19 at Winchester Cathedral, where this year more than 1,200 students will graduate.

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