Show Business Personality of the Year, Grand Order of Water Rats
Channel 4 Political Humorist of the Year
Broadcasting Press Guild Radio Broadcaster of the Year
Stonewall Broadcaster of the Year at the Stonewall Awards. 2009 Voice of the Viewer and Listener Award for Individual Contribution to Radio.
Honorary PhD University of Portsmouth.
Honorary Fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge
Honorary PhD University of Surrey
Honorary PhD University of York St John
Inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame
Created Chancellor of Portsmouth University
Roberts Radio Broadcaster of the Year
The Grand Order of Water Rats
The order is an entertainment charity which limits its membership to 200 male members who work in show business. It was started in 1889 by two British music hall performers, Joe Elvin and Jack Lotto. Both men were successful. They also owned a trotting pony called The Magpie who had regular triumphs at the races so Joe and Jack decided to give the profits to other performers who were less fortunate than themselves. They formed a group which was both a charity and a social club for performers. The story goes that one day, Joe Elvin was driving The Magpie back to its stables in the pouring rain when a passing bus driver called out, “Wot yer got there, mate?” “Our trotting pony!” replied Joe. The driver looked at the sodden horse and shouted back, “Trotting pony? Looks more like a bleedin’ water rat!” and thus the club got its name. To receive an award from this legendary group of men was one of the professional highlights of my life.
One day I intend to go back to university and study for my PhD. Meanwhile the honorary ones I have been give are very important to me. They give me a platform to speak up for the various educational establishments concerned. York St John, where my daughter Jesse graduated with a first class degree, and the University of Surrey, a county where I lived for many years, both honoured me with scrolls. I was extremely touched as well to be made an honorary fellow of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. Founded in 1965 it the youngest and perhaps the last women’s college to be founded in the United Kingdom. It provides opportunities for women over 21 to reconnect with further education. It is, not surprisingly, one of the poorest colleges in Cambridge and I am delighted to be working with the staff to try and fundraise for a much needed new accommodation block.