Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognises a graduate for their ongoing and significant contribution to their profession or society since graduating. Meet the shortlisted finalists:

Cllr Claire Darke

BA (Hons) English Class of 1992

Local Councillor, Park Ward
City of Wolverhampton Council

Nomination by Clare Dickens MBE:

Claire has been a City Councillor for over 12 years (various roles of Cabinet Member for Health, Education and Equalities Champion), all while working as a PA to disabled people. Additionally, Claire's political leadership skills culminated in her becoming the 2 Year (usually only 1) Covid Period Mayor for the City of Wolverhampton. Claire was only the 10th female Mayor and became the longest serving female Mayor of the City. Claire has challenged the status quo and fought for the City and People pf Wolverhampton throughout her career (even though originally from Woking in Surrey but living in Wolverhampton since 1985). Claire has spent her entire period in Wolverhampton advocating for the University of Wolverhampton as the key to the City and its citizens success. Finally, as Mayor, during a traumatic period for the City, her Mayoral Campaign was in support of Suicide Prevention and the creation of the Mayoral Alumni Scholarship Fund to support students at the University from Wolverhampton. Claire advocates for the University, its alumni, and its services (such as the Arena Theatre: instrumental in a Blue Plaque for a diversity lead).

Michael Cumming

BA (Hons) Fine Art Class of 1985

TV and Film Director

Nomination by Dr Pritpal Sembi:

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognises a graduate for their ongoing and significant contribution to their profession or society since graduating. Michael has not stood still since graduating, and this remains the case after receiving an Honorary Doctorate in Arts from the University in 2017. His career profile pre-2017 has already been well documented by us prior to his Honorary Award. This includes directing the documentary 'King Rocker' featuring the Nightingales and Stewart Lee as well as a new series of 'Toast of Tinseltown' as a follow up series to the long running 'Toast of London'. Much of this was achieved during the challenging time of lockdown. Michael also helped the University to shape the vision of the new Screen School in the early stages and remained supportive throughout, visiting in person recently and remaining a keen advocate of our work and our trajectory.

Sally Roberts

BSc (Hons) Nursing Studies Class of 2010 PG Dip Education/Nursing Class of 2010

Chief Nursing Officer
Black Country and West Birmingham CCG

Nomination by Nicola Hough:

I would like to nominate Sally Roberts for this Award for the work she has done and continues to do for the people of the Black Country. Sally has spent the majority of her 37-year NHS career in various provider, commissioner, and educational posts across the Black Country. Sally spent a significant part of this time in community settings as a District Nurse and a Community Practice Teacher. She has got over 10 years' experience of being an executive board nurse for local Clinical Commissioning Groups and has recently been appointed as the Chief Nursing Officer for the Integrated Care Board (ICB) for the Black Country. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Sally quickly set up (in conjunction with Wolverhampton City Council) a drive through COVID-19 swabbing hub for Health and Nursing/Care Home staff as well as West Midlands Ambulance Service staff to enable staff, who had symptoms or who were isolating, to be tested for COVID-19. Sally also arranged for CCG staff to go out to test residents in nursing and care homes. Sally is also the Senior Responsible Officer for the System COVID-19 Vaccine response across the Black Country and has been instrumental in setting up the vaccination hubs.

Watch the Awards Ceremony