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Comedy legend Eddie Izzard awarded honorary degree

Swansea University has presented an honorary degree to comedian, actor, writer and political activist, Eddie Izzard.

The award was presented to Izzard on Thursday (25 July 2019) during the University’s degree ceremony for the College of Engineering and she used the occasion encourage the successful students to go out in the world and help others.

“Have dreams, live life and live it well. Give back to others because that is a beautiful think. Make humanity great again.”

She also gained a spontaneous round of applause after urging anyone who is LGBT+ to come out and be open.

Her comments came after an introduction from comedian Max Boyce. He said: “As someone who knows only too well the precarious nature of comedy and the demands it makes, may I pay fulsome tribute to the comedic genius that is Eddie Izzard.”

Edward John Izzard was born on 7 February 1962 in the Colony of Aden. When Izzard was a year old the family moved to Northern Ireland, settling in Bangor, County Down and living there until Izzard was five.  The family then moved to Wales, where they lived in Skewen, West Glamorgan.

Eddie Izzard is renowned for her surrealist comedy. An accomplished actor, she has appeared in films such as Ocean’s Twelve, Ocean’s Thirteen, Valkyrie and Victoria & Abdul. She has also worked as a voice actor in films including The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Cars 2 and The Lego Batman Movie.

She has won numerous awards including a Primetime Emmy Award for Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program for her comedy specialDress to Kill, in 2000. Her website won the Yahoo People’s Choice Award and earned the Webby Award.

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She has campaigned for various causes.  In 2009, she completed 43 marathons in 51 days for Sport Relief despite having no prior history of long distance running.

She has been a Labour party activist for most of her life. She twice attempted to be elected for a seat on Labour’s National Executive Committee, and when Christine Shawcroft resigned in March 2018, she automatically took her place.

On receiving her award from Swansea, Eddie Izzard said: “Being a child who went to primary school in Swansea (at Oakleigh House school), it is a wonderful thing to receive an honorary doctorate from Swansea University.  It is a pleasure to come back to one of the cities of my childhood. Thank you so much.”

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