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.”

New online portal to highlight research done by BU in the Poole and Purbeck region


A new online portal will allow students and staff from BU’s School of Applied Sciences to share their knowledge and research more easily with the local community.

The Poole and Purbeck Portal will highlight the work being done in the area, as well as providing a space for employers and key stakeholders in the region to post placement and project opportunities.

BU Networking and Bid Development Officer Ben Thornes has helped create the Portal.

He said: “The community is open to anyone who wishes to understand, study, protect or improve the region – this includes professionals in organisations outside the university, as well as students, academics, scientists and anyone who lives in the area.

“Exciting opportunities, knowledge and expertise will be shared on the Portal, creating a gateway for new collaborations across the region.”

The Poole and Purbeck region is an area of outstanding natural beauty, with rich biodiversity and important heritage sites.

It has long been a popular place for research within BU’s School of Applied Sciences, ranging from archaeological investigations of an Iron Age port at Poole Harbour to analysis of woodland patches to see if biodiversity is being lost.

The website will be used as a showcase for the work and research that the School of Applied Sciences is doing across the region, as well as an area for staff and students to network with employers, local authorities and key stakeholders.

Dr Genoveva Esteban, Associate Professor in Aquatic Environmental Sciences at BU, is principal investigator for the Poole and Purbeck Portal.

She said: “Job offers will go on the portal, as well as third year dissertation and research projects.

“We have already been out speaking with businesses and organisations in the area about it. They think it is an excellent idea and now they can easily see what we do.”

The project has been funded by a £41,000 grant from the university and the team are also hoping to connect with wildlife, conservation and heritage groups in the region.

“If you want to find out what the university has done in a particular area, it is an easier way of locating it right there and then without having to go through all the different journal sites,” said Ben.

“It is a way for people to be easily able to see the work that BU does in the community and the benefits of that.”

You can find the Poole and Purbeck Portal at: