Esther Rantzen to present guest talk

Fundraising guru and TV personality Esther Rantzen is visiting the University of Wolverhampton to talk about the 25th anniversary of ChildLine.

Esther received an honorary degree from the University in 2009 in recognition of her significant work in promoting the welfare of vulnerable children through the media.

She will visit the University’s Walsall Campus on Thursday, 2 February 2012 to talk about her challenges and successes over the years.

Esther will be signing copies of her book, Running Out of Tears, which charts the launch of the first national helpline for children, ChildLine, 25 years ago and some of the stories of those whose lives have been transformed by the charity.

The event at 6pm is open to staff, students, alumni and invited guests and will also be attended by local children’s charities.

Professor Kit Field, Dean of the School for Education Futures which is organising the event, said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Esther back to the University for this special event. Our graduates go on to a diverse range of exciting careers working with children and I’m sure they will benefit from hearing Esther’s inspirational story.”

Esther Rantzen received an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Social Science from the University’s School for Education Futures in September 2009 in recognition of her work promoting the welfare of vulnerable children through the media and development of ‘every child matters’ approach.

In 1973 Esther became the producer/presenter of the consumer programme That’s Life! which ran for 21 years, and drew audiences of over 18 million.

For seven years she presented her daily talk show “Esther” on BBC2, and “That’s Esther” on ITV and made a number of pioneering programmes on child birth, mental health, drug abuse, and child abuse in the campaigning series of programmes, Childwatch.

In 1986 she invented the concept of ChildLine, which she then chaired for 20 years. She is currently President of ChildLine, is a trained volunteer counsellor, and is a Trustee of the NSPCC since its merger with ChildLine in 2005.

She has received a number of awards, including the OBE for services to broadcasting, and the CBE for services to children. She received the Royal Television Society’s Special Judges’ Award for Journalism, and was received into their Hall of Fame. In addition she received the Dimbleby award from BAFTA, (the first woman to receive it), the Lifetime Achievement Award from Women in Film and Television, the Snowdon award for services to disabled people, has five honorary doctorates and has been made an honorary Fellow of Somerville College.

She has appeared in Strictly Come Dancing for the BBC, and I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! for ITV. Recently she stood at the 2010 General Election as an Independent candidate for Luton South.

In 2011 she published her book Running Out of Tears (The Robson Press) to celebrate ChildLine’s 25th Anniversary.

There will be an opportunity to buy Esther’s book and she will be doing book signings before and after the event.

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