Gloucestershire University honorary awards announced.
COMMUNITY activist Carol Francis is among those set to be rewarded by the University of Gloucestershire for their outstanding contributions to county life.
Magistrate Mrs Francis and former Citizen editor Ian Mean, both from Gloucester; Ecotricity owner and Forest Green Rovers chairman Dale Vince, from Stroud; and Michael Tripp, former boss of Gloucester-based Ecclesiastical Insurance, are among the nine people who will receive honorary fellowships or doctorates this autumn.
Mrs Francis, the former chairman of Gloucester Jamaican Club, made local history in May 2000 when she was elected the first black female city councillor.
The following year she became the first black sheriff and deputy mayor.
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"When I opened my letter obviously I was quite in shock, and surprised and happy – everything all at once," Mrs Francis said. "I have no idea who put me forward."
Mrs Francis also belonged to a Government task force to encourage more black, Asian and minority ethnic women into public service.
She will be presented with an honorary fellowship during the university's graduation ceremonies, to be held in Gloucester and Cheltenham in November.
Mr Mean, now content director of The Citizen and other Local World titles in the South West, will become an honorary doctor of philosophy.
He said: "I feel enormously privileged to be honoured for helping encourage the celebration of business in Gloucestershire.
"In over 40 years of journalism, our campaign to encourage more apprenticeships has been one of the most worthwhile projects I have undertaken."
Sustainability champion Mr Vince and Mr Tripp, involved with Gloucestershire's Local Enterprise Partnership, were both away on holiday and unavailable.
Honoured individuals share their expertise with the university and its students.
Vice-chancellor Stephen Marston said: "The university is proud to be able to honour and celebrate their achievements through these awards. They have made outstanding contributions in their particular fields."