Battersea Dogs & Cats Home chief 'terribly excited' by honorary doctorate

Battersea Dogs & Cats Home Chief Executive Claire Horton has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Roehampton, in recognition of her conspicuous success in raising standards across the animal welfare sector.

Posted: 28 July 2015

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Dame Jacqueline Wilson, the University's Chancellor, confers an honorary doctorate on Claire Horton, Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.

The award also pays tribute to her furthering the profile of the iconic 155 year old charity, which has gained worldwide recognition from welfare specialists.

Mrs Horton, who joined Battersea in 2010, has a background of 30 years working in management across the voluntary sector. Since joining, public support has rocketed, the number of animals helped has increased and Battersea’s income has risen from £10m to £30million per annum.

Nominating Mrs Horton for the honour, Professor Garry Marvin from the Department of Life Sciences, said: “Claire has proved a persuasive and resourceful ambassador, developing a significant sphere of influence using every possible opportunity to ensure that the work of the Home is seen and understood by key influencers as well as the British public.”

The Department teaches courses including Zoology, which educates students in animal biology, evolution, anatomy, physiology, behaviour and ecology. These sorts of skills allow graduates to better understand and care for animals, such as animals which pass through Battersea each year.

Claire Horton: 'We're guardians of this institution'

"I’m terribly honoured and very excited to receive an honorary doctorate," Mrs Horton said: "It’s an honour for me as the leader of Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, and also for the home’s role in our community and across the UK. We’ve built a persona in our own area of Battersea and in Wandsworth and that will always be so. I always say to anyone who comes to work or volunteer for us that we are all just guardians of this great institution. What we have to do is carry on building on all this success that has come before us.”

She added: “For me a degree is very much the start of something, and it takes all of that learning to shape who we become. We shape our values at university, we shape our politics, our social circle and it really sets you up for where you want to go next, so I have a great deal of respect for people who complete degrees. It takes a fair bit of grit and steel for people to do a degree but there is so much to be gained.”

Honorary doctorates are presented by the University to a small number of eminent people each year in recognition of their outstanding achievement or distinction in a specific field or within public life. They are presented during the University’s annual graduation week each year.

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