Jay Blades reveals honour and describes it as "a real wow moment"

jay blades chancellor university
Jay Blades is made chancellor of former universityMike Marsland - Getty Images

Jay Blades has been made the first ever chancellor of Buckinghamshire New University (BNU) and received an honorary doctorate for his community work supporting vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and his significant contribution to furniture-making and crafts.

Blades was a student at BNU before he started his TV career and became a presenter on the hit BBC show, The Repair Shop. He is passionate about supporting disadvantaged young people and is an ambassador for several charities, including The Prince's Foundation, which works to create sustainable communities. In 2021, he received an MBE for his services to craft.

After leaving school at 15 with no qualifications, Blades studied for a degree in criminology and philosophy at BNU from 2001, when his dyslexia was both identified and supported by the university.

Speaking about his new chancellor role, Blades said described it as "a real wow moment". In a statement, he reflected on his time at the university, saying: "It’s like a big family where everyone’s working together to make sure people are looked after and they take great pride in each other’s achievements. Once I arrived at BNU, things totally changed for me for the better because I had a purpose and focus. The University supported my studies and gave me the confidence and self-belief to kickstart my life and career."

Blades shared a photo on Instagram after receiving his doctorate. In the caption, he wrote: "Long-term success in life is a trifecta of ability, motivation, and attitude. Ability is what you’re capable of doing every day. Motivation determines what you actually do every day. And attitude determines how well you ultimately do it. Keep this in mind, and keep yourself in check."

He also thanked those that came to support him on the special day and shared an impressive snap of himself alongside a few famous faces, including Mary Berry, Judi Dench and David Jason.

"I wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU to Everyone that came to my investiture, @_bnuni last night. It was Very Special, Emotional and Ground Breaking," he wrote alongside the photo. "The afternoon and the night was full of people who want to make a change for the future. In 2023. These are the only kind of people that I will be surrounding myself with. When you realise it’s not about you, it’s about the future, Great, Possible & Necessary things happen, for the Now & Next Generation."

BNU is now working with Blades on creating new furniture-related courses and facilities. The university has also awarded a bursary in Blades' honour to support students from low-income families. More than 570 students are said to have benefited from the bursary since September 2022.

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