Honorary degree for Baroness Angela Harris of Richmond

Baroness Angela Harris.

Baroness Angela Harris of Richmond, who was made a life peer in 1999, last week received an honorary degree from the University of West London (UWL) where she attended one of its predecessor institutions in the 1960s.

Brought up in Bolton, Greater Manchester, Baroness Harris attended Cannon Slade Grammar School before heading south to study hospitality at what was then the Acton Hotel and Catering School, but today forms one of the colleges of UWL – the London Geller College of Hospitality and Tourism.

Deciding that a career in hospitality was not for her, she began her working life with a two-year stint as an air stewardess with Chanel Airways.

Her move into local government came in 1981 however, when she was elected on to North Yorkshire County Council, having moved to the county to live in Richmond. This was the beginning of a long and distinguished career as a councillor that saw her serve on the county council until 2001, becoming the first woman to chair the authority in 1991.

Liberal Democrat Baroness Harris received a peerage in recognition of her local and national work in policing.

Since joining the Lords, she has chaired the European Union Select Sub-Committee F and has been a member of various select committees including the Ecclesiastical Committee, Administration and Works and the Refreshment Committee.

Currently a whip, she has also served as a Deputy Speaker and has been party spokesperson on Northern Ireland and a member of the Home Affairs Team for policing matters.

“To be offered an honorary degree from the University that set me on my way is incredible and I am totally overwhelmed,” Lady Harris said on receiving her honorary degree.

“I was a student of the Acton Hotel and Catering College as it then was and the grounding I received there enabled me to pursue whatever I turned my hand to over the years with confidence, hard work and dedication.

“It just goes to show what can happen to you after a fantastic education.”

The daughter of a vicar, she was President of the National Association of Chaplains to the Police. She is also President of the Police Treatment Centres and Hospice Homecare Support.

As he awarded Lady Harris with her honorary degree, Professor Peter John CBE, vice-chancellor of the university, said: “During her career in local government, Angela was really strong on what matters to people, she still is.  She has been a tireless supporter of the University hosting alumni receptions at the House of Lords on many occasions and I am delighted to honour her achievements today. Thank you.”