Inspiring pair receive degree accolades
Dick Penny, the saviour of the Watershed and Bristol Old Vic, and Anton Bantock, a retired schoolmaster, both received honorary degrees yesterday.
Mr Penny, managing director of the Watershed media centre in Bristol, and chairman of the Old Vic, became Doctor of Laws at a ceremony held at the Wills Memorial Building in Bristol.
And Mr Bantock, a local historian, author and promoter of good causes who runs the University of Withywood in his 1930s bungalow home at the foot of the Dundry Hills, became a Doctor of Letters.
Nine years after its foundation in 1982, the Watershed enjoyed a new life when Mr Penny became its director. The 56-year-old took it out of near receivership, and transformed the centre into the thriving organisation it is today.
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In 2008, Mr Penny, who was born in Ross-on-Wye, was drawn to the Bristol Old Vic when its revenue was diminishing, the building required substantial repairs, and the Arts Council proposed the withdrawal of their funding.
Mr Penny saved the theatre from closure.
Birmingham-born Anton Bantock started his career in 1955 as a teacher. He wrote a book entitled A Bullet Hole in my Blackboard, full of practical examples of how he dealt with pupils who had no wish to be engaged in what was then a radical way.