Sir Patrick to lead student procession with his new wife

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ACTOR Sir Patrick Stewart will be joined by his new wife, singer-songwriter Sunny Ozell, when he leads a colourful 170-strong procession of university graduates and celebrity guests – including Yorkshire Tour de France supremo Sir Rodney Walker – through the streets of Huddersfield.

Sir Patrick – born in Mirfield – is Chancellor of the town’s university and today will preside at the start of its eight days of graduation ceremonies. The centrepiece will be a procession starting at St George’s Square at 2.30pm winding its way along New Street, Market Street and Ramsden Street to the town’s library, before participants make their way to the St Paul’s Hall on the University Campus for the ceremony.

Roads will be closed while the procession of 100 gowned graduates and 68 dignitaries make their way along the route.

Sir Patrick has been highly active as Chancellor of the university, whenever his busy theatre, film and TV schedule has allowed.

He met New Yorker Sunny Ozell when he was performing Shakespeare in her home city in 2008. The couple married in late 2013 and the 2014 graduation ceremonies mark the first time she has accompanied him on Chancellor’s duties.

Today’s procession will also be joined by a large number of local dignitaries, including the Mayors of Kirklees and Calderdale, Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman plus Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney.

Sir Rodney Walker, who is to receive an honorary doctorate at the graduation, will also join the procession. Well-known as a sports administrator, he has had a recent high profile as chair of the company that organised the triumphant Tour de France stages in Yorkshire.

Artist Ashley Jackson – famed for his paintings of Yorkshire landscapes and recipient of a University of Huddersfield doctorate in 2013 – also joins the procession, alongside leading businessmen Graham Leslie and Alan Lewis, who have both worked closely with the university, plus Ken Davy, best known in the town as the chairman of Super League team the Huddersfield Giants.

The procession is one element a sequence of 29 graduation ceremonies taking place over eight days at the University of Huddersfield, concluding on Wednesday, July 23.

During the course of the week, 3,148 students will receive their awards and they will be joined by more than 6,000 guests. This is the longest sequence of graduation ceremonies yet held at the university.