Deborah McAndrew, playwright and creative director, was born in Doncaster but brought up in Leeds, training as a teacher before embarking on a successful acting career.
Dignitaries from across the region attended the installation ceremony at the university’s chapel today, including Deputy Lieutenant Ed Anderson, representative of Her Majesty the Queen, Coun Graham Latty; the Lord Mayor of Leeds and Isla Bentley, the Leeds Children’s Mayor, who joined in the celebrations.
“It’s an absolute privilege to become Leeds Trinity University’s new Chancellor,” she said. “Today was a wonderful occasion and a very proud day for me and my family.
“I am very passionate about education and hope I can inspire students to achieve their potential. Thank you to everyone at Leeds Trinity for this opportunity. I’m delighted to accept the role of Chancellor.”
Professor Margaret House OBE welcomed guests, discussing a shared belief in the impact of higher education, as well as a commitment of widening access to university. There was a performance from Leeds Trinity Cathedral Children’s Choir before Charles Isherwood, president of Leeds Trinity Students’ Union, gave a citation detailing the new Chancellor’s professional achievements.
“As well as her busy career as a playwright, actor and theatre company director, Deborah has maintained strong links with education – working with children and young people through outreach and community projects and delivering workshops in schools,” he said. “She has also worked for many years as a freelance tutor and lecturer.
“I’m very happy and honoured, on behalf of the students and staff at Leeds Trinity, to welcome her to Leeds Trinity University.”
The formal installation was made by Ian Burrell, chairman of the Board of Governors at Leeds Trinity University.
Professor Margaret House, Vice-Chancellor, said: “Deborah is a perfect fit for our institution.
“She is enthusiastic, creative, approachable, passionate about education and encouraging of young people to be the best they can be. I know that we will work together to support our students to become socially impactful individuals. We are delighted to welcome Deborah as our Chancellor and are looking forward to working with her for many years to come.”
The actress had trained as a teacher before embarking on a career as a writer and actor, working extensively in theatre, television and radio before co-founding the Claybody Theatre Company. Joining Coronation Street in 1990, she had played the role of Angie Freeman.
She lives in Stoke-on-Trent with her husband Conrad Nelson and their 17-year-old daughter, Elizabeth.