Yorkshire-born actor, award-winning playwright and Creative Director Deborah McAndrew has been installed as the Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University.
The Installation Ceremony in the University's Chapel brought together family, friends, staff and students, along with representatives from the University and across the region including Deputy Lieutenant Ed Anderson, Representative of Her Majesty the Queen, Cllr Graham Latty; the Lord Mayor of Leeds and Isla Bentley, the Leeds Children's Mayor, who joined in the celebrations.
The ceremony began with an academic procession that featured representatives from across the University, followed by an opening prayer from the Right Reverend Marcus Stock, Bishop of Leeds.
Professor Margaret A House OBE welcomed guests and spoke about Deborah and why she is the perfect for the role of Leeds Trinity University Chancellor. She discussed Deborah's, and Leeds Trinity's, shared belief in the impact that higher education can have, as well as the shared commitment of widening access to university, developing students as individuals and broadening horizons through professional practice.
There was a performance from Leeds Trinity Cathedral Children's Choir before Charles Isherwood, President of Leeds Trinity Students' Union, gave a citation detailing Deborah's professional achievements and how they make her the perfect choice for Leeds Trinity University's new chancellor.
Charles Isherwood, President of Leeds Trinity Students' Union, said: "As well as her busy career as a playwright, actor and theatre Company Director, Deborah has maintained strong links with education – working with children and young people through outreach and community projects and delivering workshops in schools. She has also worked for many years as a freelance tutor and lecturer. I'm very happy and honoured, on behalf of the students and staff at Leeds Trinity, to welcome her to Leeds Trinity University."
The formal installation was made by Ian Burrell, Chair of the Board of Governors at Leeds Trinity University.
Commenting on her appointment, Deborah said: "It's an absolute privilege to become Leeds Trinity University's new Chancellor. Today was a wonderful occasion and a very proud day for me and my family. I am very passionate about education and hope I can inspire students to achieve their potential. Thank you to everyone at Leeds Trinity for this opportunity. I'm delighted to accept the role of Chancellor."
Professor Margaret House, Vice-Chancellor of Leeds Trinity University, added: "Deborah is a perfect ambassador for Leeds Trinity University and today's ceremony was a very special occasion to officially welcome her. Deborah is a perfect fit for our institution. She is enthusiastic, creative, approachable, passionate about education and encouraging of young people to be the best they can be. I know that we will work together to support our students to become socially impactful individuals. We are delighted to welcome Deborah as our Chancellor and are looking forward to working with her for many years to come."
Born in Huddersfield, Deborah lived in Leeds throughout her childhood before studying Drama at university. She trained as a teacher before embarking on a successful career as a writer and actor. Having worked extensively in theatre, television and radio in a career spanning almost 30 years, Deborah co-founded Claybody Theatre Company in Stoke-on-Trent in 2013, where she is currently Creative Director.
Deborah has performed and published plays including original work, such as her award-winning World War One drama An August Bank Holiday Lark, and adaptations of classic novels, such as Charles Dickens' Hard Times, Oliver Twist and A Christmas Carol.
Beginning her acting career in the 1990s on the cobbles of Coronation Street, where she played Weatherfield regular Angie Freeman, Deborah has appeared regularly in BBC Radio Drama. Her theatre credits include work for London and regional theatres, and national touring.
As Chancellor of the University, Deborah will be a role model for students, and a key ambassador for the University. She will return to campus next month where she will present students with their degrees as part of Graduation.
Watch the Ceremony for the Installation of the Chancellor on our Leeds Trinity University Facebook page.