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Wednesday, July 28, 1999 Published at 12:19 GMT 13:19 UK


Brave Helen receives honorary degree

Helen Rollason: Received an MBE from the Queen earlier this month

BBC sports presenter Helen Rollason has been awarded an honorary degree from her former university at a special ceremony at her home.

The 42-year-old, who is seriously ill with cancer, dropped out of a public ceremony at the University of Brighton this Friday.

She studied as a PE teacher at the university's Chelsea School before starting a career in journalism.

A spokesman said: "Ms Rollason received the honoray doctorate of letters from the dean of education, Paul Griffiths, at a private ceremony last week.

"Until the last minute she was really hoping that she might be able to come to the ceremony.

"She's quite a strong-willed lady and she said she did not want to let people down."

When the Queen presented her with an MBE at Buckingham Palace earlier this month, Ms Rollason, who lives in Shenfield, Essex, was in a wheelchair and accompanied by a nurse.

She said afterwards the honour had helped her to keep fighting her cancer, and that she was determined to return to work.

Ms Rollason was diagnosed with colon and liver cancer in August 1997. One of her doctors gave her four months to live.

But she underwent chemotherapy and, aided by holistic therapies and a special diet, astonished doctors by battling on.

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