26 November 2013 - This story is in archive

The University of Hertfordshire has awarded Paralympic blind footballer and one of Britain’s top goal scorers David Clarke an honorary Doctor of Science in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the sport and the broader community.

Inspiring

As the backbone of Britain's blind football team scoring 128 goals in the 144 games he played, David has never let his visual disability stand in his way. Despite losing his sight at an early age, he has excelled as an international footballer while developing a successful career in banking.  Although now retired from competitive sport, David continues to inspire young people to be the best they can be through his involvement both with the University and the wider community.

Hugely privileged

Commenting on receiving his award, David said: "I am extremely honoured to be receiving this award from such a prestigious academic and sporting institution.  The University of Hertfordshire plays a key role in the lives of many across Hertfordshire, Great Britain and the World, and I feel hugely privileged to be recognised in this way. The skilled staff and state-of-the-art facilities at the de Havilland Sports Village campus were fundamental to my Paralympic preparation.  And I have enjoyed my wider involvement with the University through my association with the Hertfordshire Talented Athlete Programme, the Hertfordshire Sports Partnership and my membership of the Business School Advisory Board."

At the ceremony on Monday 18 November – held in the Cathedral and Abbey Church of St. Albans – David received his Honorary Degree alongside over 4,400 new graduates celebrating academic success. 

True role model

In reading the citation, Nick Brooking, Director of Sport at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "It is a privilege to pay tribute to David today.  His positive thinking, tenacity and desire to excel have driven his sporting success and also his professional life.  Based in Hertfordshire, he undertook much of his pre-Games training at our Sports Village, but his connections with the University are wider than that - he generously gives his time to support events, and encouraging our students in their sporting and business ambitions.  David is a true role model and I'm delighted to present the award of honorary Doctor of Science to David Clarke."

The University has also shown its appreciation to nineteen other pillars of the community by awarding Honorary Degrees and Fellowships for outstanding contribution to academic disciplines, charity, professions or public service – presented by Lord Salisbury, Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire; Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor; Professor Ian Campbell, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Richard Beazley, Pro Chancellor.