Ex Blue Peter editor Biddy Baxter honoured in Leicester

Biddy Baxter Ms Baxter began her career at the BBC in 1955

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Blue Peter pioneer Biddy Baxter said returning to Leicester to receive an honorary degree would bring back "very fond memories".

Ms Baxter, who edited the famous children's show from 1965 to 1988 and created the Blue Peter appeal, was born and raised in the city.

She will receive the honorary degree of doctor of laws from the University of Leicester on Friday.

The former Wyggeston Girls' Grammar School pupil said she was "thrilled".

During her time at the helm of Blue Peter, the programme garnered 22 awards and raised millions of pounds for charity.

Ms Baxter was made an MBE in 1981 and was a consultant to the BBC director general from 1989 to 2000.

'Absolutely ridiculous'

She said returning to Leicester would bring back happy memories of her younger years.

She said: "The degree ceremony in the De Montfort Hall will bring back vivid memories of the Wyggeston Grammar School for Girls' annual dancing demonstrations.

"The last time I walked the length of the hall and climbed up the rostra on to the platform, I was dressed as Britannia complete with trident, plumed helmet and metal breastplate and wearing a very tight long skirt made from a Union flag.

"I felt and probably looked absolutely ridiculous.

Nigel Henbest Nigel Henbest's writing has been translated into 27 languages

"As a junior member of the Little Theatre I adored the build-up to our performances, the read-throughs, costume fittings and the hope of photographs and a review in the Leicester Mercury or the Mail.

"One of my fellow actors was a very quiet boy called Joe Orton - no indication then that he would become the most famous playwright of his generation.

"Leicester was my life until I left for university and I have very fond memories of all my Leicester years."

Also being honoured is astronomy expert Nigel Henbest, whose astrophysics degree from the university preceded a hugely successful career in writing and TV production.

He will be given the honorary degree of doctor of science at the ceremony.

He said: "No previous visit to Leicester has given me anything like the joy and excitement of this invitation to return to the university which first directed my feet on the path to astronomy."

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