Page last updated at 12:31 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009

Sir Jimmy given honorary degree

Sir Jimmy Savile
Sir Jimmy has raised 20m for Stoke Mandeville Hospital

Veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Savile has received an honorary degree from the University of Bedfordshire.

Sir Jimmy, 83, has become an Honorary Doctor of Arts in recognition of his work for the National Spinal Injuries Centre at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The former radio and television presenter has raised £20m for the Buckinghamshire hospital and has run hundreds of marathons for charity.

The graduation ceremony took place at St Mary's Church, Luton.

Sir Jimmy, who still lives in his home city of Leeds, said the honour had come as a surprise.

He said: "When I get something like this, first of all I think I've opened someone else's mail.

"Then I realise 'Good heavens, it's for me'. When I get over that, of course it's an honour."

Sir Jimmy raised £20m for the creation of the National Spinal Injuries Centre in 1983 after severe weather damaged the old pre-fab wooden huts which had housed spinal cord injury patients since 1944.

He is a volunteer at the hospital and has run 216 marathons for various charitable organisations.

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