Olympian honoured by his university
Released: Tuesday 10th July 2012 at 16:14
A North East university today welcomed back its very own Olympian as the country gears up for London 2012.
Charlie Spedding is the English record holder for the marathon, a winner of the London Marathon, and the last British athlete, male or female, to win a medal in the Olympic Marathon.
Charlie Spedding received an Honorary Fellowship from fellow Olympian, and Chancellor of the University of Sunderland, Steve Cram, who gained a silver medal in the 1500 metres in the same year as Charlie. Charlie Spedding was honoured in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sport regionally, nationally and internationally.
Charlie was born in Ferryhill, County Durham, where his family lived above his father’s chemist shop on Main Street. Charlie followed his father Joe into the pharmacy industry, graduating from the forerunner of the University of Sunderland, Sunderland Polytechnic, in 1974.
A keen runner all his life, in the early 1980s, Charlie quit his career as a pharmacist to focus on his lifelong dream of becoming a professional athlete. Success followed quickly, in 1983 he was named National Champion in the 10,000 metres, in 1984 he won the London Marathon, and later that year he won a Bronze medal in the Los Angeles Olympics.
Charlie returned to the world of pharmacy soon after, and successfully founded his own business, C. Spedding Limited. More recently Charlie has stepped back from the day to day running of his business to campaign for increased physical exercise for school children.
To this day Charlie Spedding is the English record holder for the marathon, at 2 hours, 8 minutes and 33 seconds.
Among the other honoraries receiving awards this week are comedian Eddie Izzard, ITV News at Ten presenter Alastair Stewart OBE, artist Norman Cornish and executive director of The Customs House, Ray Spencer MBE.
This year's annual awards ceremonies are the biggest in the University of Sunderland's 111-year history. Over five days 3,218 students from sixty-eight countries – from Nepal to Uzbekistan - will graduate from the Stadium of Light watched by 8,786 guests, with 289 academic staff cheering on the class of 2012.