Gaynor Faye awarded honorary Doctorate of Arts at Leeds Met
The Leeds-born actress, best-known for her role as Judy Mallett in Coronation Street, has had acting parts in many popular British dramas including Playing the Field, Between the Sheets, Stan the Man and ITV's Fat Friends, where she starred alongside James Corden, Ruth Jones and Alison Steadman.
Speaking about receiving the award, Gaynor said: Speaking about receiving the award, Gaynor said: "I'm so thrilled to be given this honorary degree from Leeds Metropolitan University. Leeds is where my heart is, I'm a patriotic Leeds girl and I never thought the day would come that I'd actually get a cap and gown. My mum and dad have got cap and gowns, my sister has - but I don't, so this is going to fill a massive void on my mum and dad's wall!
"The advice I would give to graduates is to always follow your dream, work hard and be persistent. Persistence always pays off together with hard work. Don't expect it to land in your lap, you have to chase it."
In 2006, Gaynor was crowned the winner of the very first series of ITV's Dancing on Ice, where paired with UK Gold medallist Dan Whiston, she skated to victory over fellow celebrity finalists actor Stefan Booth and actress Bonnie Langford.
Following Dancing on Ice, Gaynor, who wrote episodes of Playing the Field and Fat Friends, went on to write for BBC1 drama The Chase, in which she also starred as the character of Anna Williams.
In 2009 Gaynor appeared in the hit stage adaptation of Calendar Girls alongside Lynda Bellingham at London's Noel Coward Theatre. In addition she has been a regular guest panellist on talk show Loose Women.
Gaynor joined the cast of Emmerdale in 2012, its 40th birthday year and continues to star in the five-night-a-week soap opera, playing feisty business woman Megan Macey.
Gaynor is committed to charity work and on Sunday, 14 July ran the Jane Tomlinson Leeds 10k, which now in its seventh year raises millions of pounds for local and national causes. She has also supported Cancer Research UK for the last 20 years as well as When You Wish Upon a Star, a charity whose primary aim is to grant the wishes of children suffering from life threatening illnesses.
Others receiving honorary degrees from Leeds Metropolitan include comedy writer and performer Barry Cryer OBE; Leeds businessman and charity activist, Edward Ziff and Olympic triathlon coach Malcolm Brown MBE.
Leeds Metropolitan University Vice Chancellor, Professor Susan Price, said: "We are delighted to recognise such a wide variety of individuals who have made a significant contribution to their field. This year's awards are particularly varied, with inspiring people from a range of backgrounds including business, arts, law, sport and the entertainment industry. We are very much looking forward to welcoming them to our Headingley Campus to celebrate with us as we recognise the achievements of our staff and graduating students."