Figures from sport, local government, policing and medicine receive honorary awards

4 September 2018

Distinguished figures from sport, medicine, policing and local government received honorary awards from Canterbury Christ Church University as part of the University’s graduation celebrations.

Each year, the University awards Honorary Fellowships and Doctorates in recognition of outstanding service, contributions or achievements in the fields of education or public life.

This autumn, Director-General of the National Crime Agency, Lynne Owens CBE QPM MA received an Honorary Doctorate, as did former England Women’s Rugby Captain and founder of Inspiring Women, Catherine Paynter.

Chief Executive of Canterbury City Council and former member of the University’s Governing Body, Colin Carmichael OBE, became an Honorary Fellow, along with Professor of Medical Innovation, Abdol Tavabie MA MD FRCGP FRCP.

Vice-Chancellor of Canterbury Christ Church University, Professor Rama Thirunamachandran, said: “We were delighted to present these awards during our graduation celebrations. All our Honorary Doctors and Fellows have made significant contributions for the benefit and welfare of our communities and achieved outstanding success in their chosen professions. They are an inspiration to our students for their future careers.”


Lynne Owens, Director-General of the National Crime Agency

Lynne Owens became Director General of the National Crime Agency (NCA) in January 2016, following a 27 year career as a police officer. She is a member of the Government’s National Security Council and chairs the National Strategic Tasking and Coordination Group. An experienced police officer, Lynne joined the Metropolitan Police Service in 1989 and served initially as a Constable in Catford. She later moved to Kent Police as a Sergeant where she rose to the rank of Detective Chief Inspector and Senior Investigating Officer within the Force’s Major Crime Department.


 Former England Women's Rugy captain, Catherine Paynter

One of England’s most successful women rugby players, Catherine Paynter (nee Spencer), won six RBS Six Nations titles, captained the team for three seasons and led them to a narrow defeat in the 2010 World Cup final. She significantly raised the profile of women’s rugby through her leadership and now continues to inspire girls and women through her own company Inspiring Women. She is patron of global charity Tag Rugby Trust, and loyal to her Kent roots, as an ambassador of both Shepway Sports Trust and KM Charity team. Catherine is also a regular rugby commentator and pundit and author of the book, Mud, Maul, Mascara.


Colin Carmichael, Chief Executive of Canterbury City Council

Colin Carmichael became the Chief Executive of Canterbury City Council in 1996. He oversees about 500 council staff and works closely with elected councillors to provide leadership and strategic direction. Prior to this, he gained local government experience in London in the late 1980s and 1990s, working for the London Borough of Hackney before becoming Director of Corporate Services for the London Borough of Camden. Colin was a member of the Board of Governors at Christ Church from the academic year 2003/04 until 2016/17.


LtoR: Frank Martin (Pro-Chancellor), Debra Towse (Pro Vice-Chancellor Medical Education Development and Dean of Health & Wellbeing), Professor Abdol Tavabie and Profesor Rama Thirunamachandran (Vice-Chancellor)

Professor Abdol Tavabie has a wealth of clinical and health care organisation experience and until 2013, he was a practising GP with thirty years’ experience. He has passion for improving and delivering high quality patient care through education and development of the workforce, and has been involved in postgraduate medical education for much of his career. Through his work on the development of GP Vocational Training and Continuing Education, Professor Tavabie has trained doctors to become general practitioners, as well as being responsible for training doctors to become hospital consultants. Professor Tavabie is now a retired, Postgraduate Medical Education Dean with nationally recognized success in multi-professional education. In 2015 he became the University’s first Chair of the Institute of Medical Sciences Advisory Board.

Notes to editors

  • Over two days, 11 and 12 September, about 1,800 students graduated from Christ Church in ceremonies held in Canterbury Cathedral.

Canterbury Christ Church University

Canterbury Christ Church University is a modern university with 16,000 students across Kent and Medway. Its courses span a wide range of academic and professional subject areas.

  • Over 94% of our UK undergraduates were in employment or further studies six months after completing their studies*.
  • We are one of the South East’s largest providers of education, training and skills leading to public service careers.

*2016/17 Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey


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Last edited: 14/12/2018 23:41:00