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Businessman who came to UK with just £3 in his pocket honoured at graduation ceremony

FOUR prominent figures joined hundreds of students at the University of Bradford’s winter graduation ceremonies yesterday.

The first of two days of graduation ceremonies were held in the university’s great hall yesterday, with students from the Social Sciences, Faculty of Management and Law and Life sciences all donning cap and gown.

One of those being honoured was Nirmal Singh MBE, a Bradford businessman who was given an honorary fellowship.

Mr Singh came to England from India as a teenager with just £3 in his pocket, and has gone on to become one of the city’s biggest success stories.

He has set up numerous businesses, including clothing stores and the Sekhon Group, which owns 800 properties across Bradford, including many in Little Germany, and the rest of the UK.

He has been involved in high profile charity campaigns and with Asian business groups.

“I’m very proud to be getting this. It means I’m not just a man, I’m a Bradford man. I have put in a lot of effort and hard work in, and I want to make Bradford more successful. I’m still working with groups across Bradford.

Professor Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer for England, Chief Medical Adviser to the UK Government and Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department of Health was conferred with a Doctor of Health.

She said: “It is a great honour, and I’m particularly honoured because my mother came from Bradford, so I always had a special link to the city.

“The University has a fabulous life science department, and some amazing labs. It is very well renowned for subjects like optometry and other fields. The University and its facilities are absolutely central to the city, and it works very closely with the NHS.

“I will be telling students to think about their values and stick to those values.”

Earlier in the day Victoria Jane Bowman, Director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, was made a Doctor of the University and Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford, who has worked at the highest levels of government in a wide range of policy areas, was made a Doctor of Health.

Today will see graduation ceremonies for the Faculty of Engineering and Informatics, and the Faculty of Health Studies. There will also be two more honorary graduates, Professor Ara Darzi, who holds the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery at Imperial College London, the Royal Marsden Hospital and the Institute of Cancer Research. He will be made Doctor of Health. Naomi Climer, an engineer who has spent her career working in the broadcast and communications technology industry, working for the BBC, ITV and Sony, will be made doctor of engineering.

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