Paralympic sailor receives Honorary Doctorate from BU

A Paralympic sailor who made history by winning gold at the London 2012 games has received an Honorary Doctorate from Bournemouth University.

Helena Lucas MBE received her Doctor of Arts at the ceremony for graduates from the School of Applied Sciences.

She was the first British sailor ever to win a Paralympic gold medal, after winning in the single keelboat event in Weymouth.

Helena, who is also a successful yacht designer, said that receiving the Honorary Doctorate from BU was “absolutely amazing.”

“It was the last thing I expected to be offered,” she added. “It was a real honour and a real pleasure.”

Helena, who is currently training for the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016, added that her advice to graduates was to dream big and not give up.

“If you dream big, the chances are you’ll achieve your goals,” she said.

“I think it’s a case of never giving up. If you’ve got a dream and you’ve got a goal, just keep working towards it. There will be the odd curveball here and there, the odd disappointment, but never give up and keep going.

“I think that’s the message that I want to get across to the students – it won’t be easy, it will be tough out there, but with determination and commitment and dedication, you can achieve whatever you want to achieve.”

More than 5,000 graduates from across Bournemouth University were handed their degree certificates in six different ceremonies at the Bournemouth International Centre.

Professor John Vinney, vice-chancellor of Bournemouth University, said: “Bournemouth University takes great pride in our Honorary Graduates.

“We recognise people who have excelled in their chosen field who will act as inspirational role models, both for our graduates and their families at the awards ceremonies and for our whole student body in the coming years.”