British soul singer Beverley Knight MBE said she’s “thrilled” after receiving an Honorary Doctorate from Birmingham City University today.

The graduation ceremony took place at Symphony Hall, and the much-loved singer was handed her Honorary Doctorate from university chancellor Sir Lenny Henry

The Wolverhampton-born charity worker and singer songwriter – who cites soul legend Aretha Franklin as an influence – received the honour in recognition of her career which has influenced and inspired a legion of people across the country.

Legendary British comedian and actor Sir Lenny Henry, who was born in Dudley, was on hand at the graduation ceremony as university chancellor to give Knight her Honorary Doctorate.

He hailed Knight as the “Queen of British soul and a true icon for the West Midlands”.

Chancellor Sir Lenny Henry watches on as Beverley Knight makes a speech at the graduation ceremonyBirmingham City University
Chancellor Sir Lenny Henry watches on as Beverley Knight makes a speech at the graduation ceremony

Knight, 50, said she was proud of her West Midlands background, and during her graduation speech she told the students to be “bold and fearless”.

She added: “I hope my career can inspire the young minds who share the graduation day with me.

“Don’t be scared to take the path which is less travelled because down that path is going to be something more amazing than you could have ever predicted.”

The highly-acclaimed singer, who already holds an Honorary Doctorate which was bestowed upon her by the University of Wolverhampton, also received an Olivier Award in April for her performance in Oklahoma in London’s West End.

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