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Popular TV stars James Martin and Tess Daly spoke of their pride as they received honorary degrees from the University of Bolton.
James, who presents James Martin’s Saturday Morning, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Arts for his outstanding contribution to Hospitality and Entertainment in the ceremony at the Albert Halls in Bolton Town Hall.
Strictly Come Dancing presenter Tess, who is married to Bolton Radio 2 DJ Vernon Kay, was awarded Doctor of Arts for her outstanding contribution to Entertainment.
James said: “This is an unbelievable surprise for me. For a kid from Yorkshire, the wrong side of the Pennines, coming over here receiving this, I feel very privileged and humbled.”
He told graduating students: “Life is a journey and your journey is about to start. And this journey is a little bit like a horse race; you are not necessarily competing against each other, you are competing against yourself.
“In life you will face several hurdles and it is how you get round them and through them.
“I remember as a young kid facing my first hurdle when I failed cookery at school. A true story! I didn’t realise I was dyslexic until I was 35, but all those hurdles in life make you better.
James added: “I wish you the very best in all that you do and I will see you outside in the real world!”
Tess, who attended the ceremony with her mother and her husband’s parents and brother, said: “It’s overwhelming being here today.
“This award really does mean more than you can imagine. Thank you so much to the University, it’s a huge honour. I am so grateful.
“It’s an incredible privilege to be offered an honorary doctorate by the University and to join all of you on this very special day.”
She added: “Not only am I receiving an honorary doctorate but I also feel like an honorary Boltonian – I have been married to one for 20 years!
“I wouldn’t be here without the support of my family and I am so glad that my mum could join us here today and my wonderful in-laws.”
Tess said: “I would like to dedicate this award to my late dad because he would be so unbelievably proud to see me standing here today.
“Congratulations to you all. May you go far and prosper in your careers.”
Over the past 30 years James has presented some of the most popular cooking shows on TV, including ITV classics such as James Martin’s Saturday Morning; Islands to Highlands; This
Morning and James Martin’s American, French & Great British Adventure.
For the BBC he hosted Saturday Kitchen for a decade, as well as Home Comforts.
James has published 26 best-selling cookbooks and his restaurants include James Martin Manchester inside the Great Northern Warehouse; The Kitchen at Chewton Glen; and more recently, James Martin at the Lygon Arms in the Cotswolds.
James is also a regular headline guest at the hugely successful Bolton Food and Drink Festival and he will return with his popular cookery demos for the 18th festival which takes place next month.
Tess began a modelling career aged 18 and spent time living in New York and Paris.
She has presented a succession of TV shows, including SMTV Live and became co-host of the BBC’s hugely popular Strictly Come Dancing show, originally alongside the late Sir Bruce Forsyth for 10 years, and latterly with Claudia Winkleman.