Stoke & Staffordshire

Peter Coates picks up Keele University honorary degree

Peter Coates
Image caption Peter Coates has overseen an upturn in the footballing fortunes of Stoke City

He left school aged 14 with no formal qualifications, but Stoke City chairman Peter Coates has beaten the odds after being awarded an honorary degree by Keele University.

Mr Coates received a Doctor of the University (DUniv) in recognition of his enormous contribution to the local community and the local economy in North Staffordshire.

Mr Coates was born the son of a miner, in Goldenhill, near Tunstall in Stoke-on-Trent. He was the youngest of 14 children.

He made his initial wealth through betting shops and catering. But it was in 2000, following the advice of his daughter Denise, that he launched the online gambling business Bet365 - and their fortunes rocketed.

It has now grown to employ 1,500 people in Stoke-on-Trent and remains one of the fastest growing technology companies in the UK.

'Local boy'

The man born into poverty is now one of the richest businessmen in football and he continues to invest in his beloved Stoke City.

Mr Coates said that it was an "honour" and a "great privilege" to be recognised in this way.

"Being a local boy, and seeing Keele develop into this fantastic university... I am delighted to receive the award," said Mr Coates.

Other recipients of honorary degrees at Keele University's summer graduation ceremonies included Mike Reynolds, Professor Dame Janet Finch, Professor Dame Sally Davies, Professor Stephen Field and Professor Richard Blackett.

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