THE summer graduations at Bradford University began yesterday with the making of two honorary doctorates.

Joining the hundreds of students picking up their degrees were Jacqueline Ann Gerrard, the Royal College of Midwives director for England, and Diana Chambers a Pro-Chancellor of the University of Bradford.

Mrs Gerrard plays a key role in shaping national midwifery policy in the NHS. She started her career in Bradford, working in hospitals as well as completing her MSc with the University.

Her work with the RCM is vital for supporting midwives and involves communicating their needs to stakeholders including No 10 Downing Street. Yesterday she was named Doctor of the University.

Mrs Chambers became Pro-Chancellor in 2007 and was Deputy Chair of Council until she retired in 2013. She served as a member of University Council over the last 15 years and was also the head teacher at Skipton Girls’ High School for 15 years. In yesterday's ceremony she was named Doctor of Education.

Mrs Gerrard said: ‘It feels like it is in recognition not just for me but for the midwifery profession and the thousands of midwives working hard to deliver the best possible care for women and their babies.

‘In accepting this award I hope it helps to raise the profile of midwifery as a profession by highlighting the important public health role midwives play in determining future healthy outcomes for babies and children and a healthier future society."

She added that she felt particularly honoured as she worked at the maternity unit at Bradford Royal Infirmary for many years and studied at the university.