Double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes among those to be honoured by Yorkshire university

Dame Kelly Holmes, alongside leading figures in music and science, will receive honorary degrees from the University of York in the New Year.

Double Olympic gold medallist Dame Kelly Holmes. Photo credit: JPIMedia

Double Gold winner, record breaker, former Army sergeant, and role model Dame Kelly will be presented with an honorary doctorate during online graduation ceremonies in January.

She will be joined alongside classical trumpeter Alison Balsom and Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience Nancy Kanwisher, who are also being recognised by the university.

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Some of Dame Kelly's athletic achievements include winning Gold in both the 800m and 1500m at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Dame Kelly Holmes celebrates after winning the Women's 800m

She is also a two-time Commonwealth champion, and a multi-medallist at Commonwealth European and World Championships and still holds British records in the 600m and 800m.

Off the track after retiring in 2005, the star athlete also went on to form the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, supporting young athletes and disadvantaged young people from across the UK.

A university spokeswoman said Dame Kelly still remained one of the UK’s "most popular and inspiring athletes".

Dame Kelly, 50, who has also won BBC Sports Personality of the Year, will also be recognised for her contribution to the British Army - in a career spanning 10 years, after she joined when she was 17-years-old.

In the forces she became a fully qualified HGV driver and Physical Training Instructor during an army career and went on to be awarded an MBE for services to the British Army in 1998.

And in 2018, Dame Kelly was appointed Honorary Colonel of the Royal Armoured Corps, marking her return to the army. Approved by Her Majesty the Queen, the accolade makes her the only Colonel Dame in the World.

In recent years Dame Kelly has also bravely opened up about her battle against depression.

"Dame Kelly is passionate about raising awareness of mental health issues and is a trained Mental Health First Aider," a spokeswoman from the University of York said.

"She is also the Founder and President of the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust, a sports charity which supports disadvantaged young people using the unique skills of world class athletes to engage, enable and empower,"

Alison Balsom OBE, an award-winning classical trumpeter, will also be recognized after having performed at venues across the globe with some of the greatest conductors and orchestras of our time, who collaborated with some of the world’s leading chamber ensembles and soloists.

While Nancy Kanwisher, Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge (USA), had produced a string of important findings in the vision sciences, using brain imaging and behavioural testing to study how visual areas of the human brain contribute to our perception of the world.


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