Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

Actor becomes first person with Down's syndrome to receive honorary degree

An actor has become the first person with Down's Syndrome to be recognised with an honorary degree.

The University of Nottingham has made Sarah Gordy MBE an honorary "Doctor of Laws" during it's winter graduation ceremony.

The actor, dancer, model and disability campaigner attended the ceremony on the University Park campus.

She also delivered an acceptance address to her fellow graduates.

Sarah is known for challenging the attitudes and preconceptions people have towards those with learning disabilities.

She's had high profile roles in theatre, film and television, including Call the Midwife, Upstairs Downstairs and Strike: The Silkworm.

She became the first person with a learning disability to become an ambassador of the charity Mencap.

She also made history as the first woman with Down’s syndrome to be awarded an MBE, recognising her contributions to the arts and people with disabilities.

Sarah Gordy said:

I am really thrilled to receive this honour. It not only means a lot to me and my family but hopefully it will inspire many young people to be ambitious.

I have two sides to my life. I am a main stream actor and I desire to motivate parents and young people. Eat well, exercise, laugh a lot and work hard.

Employers are learning that a person with a learning disability is often unusually loyal and reliable. We all have something to offer.

I also want to say well done to The University of Nottingham for being so committed to positive change in attitudes.

– Sarah Gordy MBE
Sarah Gordy MBE Credit: Snooty Fox

The University of Nottingham’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, Professor Sarah Sharples, said:

“I am delighted that we are recognising Sarah, who is an outstanding role model.

"By being highly respected in her career, Sarah sends an extremely powerful message to others that having a disability doesn’t need to mean that you can’t achieve incredible things.

"It is so important that we continue to learn to understand the impact that having a disability can have on an individual’s day to day life, on their work, and on their experience at University.

" As a University we need to work hard to support all of our staff and students with disabilities and listening to leaders such as Sarah can really help us in this important mission.”