The father and son philanthropists behind Timpson Group, the shoe repairs and locksmith specialists, were two of those honoured by Cardiff Metropolitan University at its annual degree ceremonies today.
Founder and former CEO Sir John Timpson CBE and his son Mr James Timpson OBE, now CEO of the pioneering retail giant which has ex-offenders making up 10% of its workforce, were among several business leaders and academics being honoured including Mr Gavin Cawood, a highly regarded former member of staff at the University, who was honoured posthumously.
Fifteen of Timpson's 1000 stores are in Cardiff and James, Chair of the Prison Reform Trust, worked at the Cardiff Market store when he first started in business. He now dedicates three or four days a week to getting out to visit his stores nationwide and said: "I'm delighted to be receiving this today, uniquely alongside my father John. In business and in our philanthropic pursuits we have always tried to encourage both kindness and to help those who have had challenging lives.
"When I first started in the business I worked in our shop in Cardiff Market, learning the trade and understanding the culture. It's great to share today's experience with those students who have shared a similar experience of learning in this great City."
Cheshire-based John, 74, who fostered 90 children with his late wife Alex added: "It feels very strange to be given an honour like this, because you don't really appreciate that anything you do is out of the ordinary. It is the work we do, the day job. My late wife was the one who really did all the hard work and inspired our fostering.
"James is very like his mum and that's why I am able to work so well with him in business. As with her, if we have a disagreement on which way to best do something, I just let him win!"
Professor Cara Aitchison, the University's President & Vice-Chancellor said: "Graduation is a ceremonial occasion and students have been graduating from Cardiff Met and its founding institutions for over 150 years. Graduates of Cardiff Met are well prepared to be creative, enterprising and active global citizens able to make the most of their most valuable possession, knowledge."