England and Somerset cricketing stars, Anya Shrubsole MBE and Marcus Trescothick MBE, both received Honorary Degrees this week as part of the University of Bath’s Winter Graduation Ceremonies.

A role model for future generations

Anya is one of Britain’s greatest women cricketers who has excelled not only through her achievements on the sporting field, but also off the field as a role model for future generations of athletes.

Born and educated in Bath, Anya attended Hayesfield School. Growing up she was an all-round sportswoman although cricket became her passion. She went on to play for Bath where her development as a player was supported at a time when the women’s game had nowhere near the profile that it does today.

She was the first girl to be selected for the Somerset Academy at 13. Her England debut came in 2008 as a 16-year-old and she won the match award in her first Twenty20 international nine days later. It was in 2017, however, that she really made her mark on the history of British sport through an outstanding bowling performance that resulted in England winning the ICC Women’s World Cup Final against India at Lords.

As Anya’s orator, Professor Simone Fullager (Department for Health), said: “This moment symbolised an historical turning point as women’s cricket gained the respect and public recognition that it has long deserved.”

Anya added: “It is an unbelievable privilege to receive an honorary degree from The University of Bath. As someone who was born and raised in Bath, I recognise the outstanding contribution the University has made to the City in particular to its sporting pedigree.

"As a youth, I spent a lot of time in and around the University and have made use of its world class facilities which no doubt contributed to my ambition to play professional cricket. I am proud to be recognised amongst those who have come before me and hope that this award will inspire others, particularly within women’s sport, to achieve their full potential in a world where women’s sport is blossoming.

“Congratulations to all those who are graduating this year. There are many who will doubt you, and you may even doubt yourself. However, your commitment, dedication and hard work will overcome this if you are serious about achieving your goals. As you may have found with your studies, when it seemed it could not be done, you’ll be glad you never gave up. Apply this to all your future endeavours because you never know what is possible.”

Recognised for his ability, openness and candour

For equally outstanding services to cricket, as well as for his openness and candour in helping and continuing to help others with mental health issues, the University will also recognise the incredible achievements of Marcus Trescothick.

Born locally in Keynsham, Marcus played cricket for his school, Avon Schools, West of England Schools, Keynsham and Somerset U19s. Aged just 15 and compiling a staggering 4,000 runs over one summer in 1991 Marcus received the ‘Outstanding Young Cricketer of the Year’ award from the Cricketer magazine.

He was subsequently selected for England Under-17s and awarded a professional contract with Somerset CC in 1992. In over 800 matches for Somerset, he scored more than 28,000 runs, and holds records for the number of centuries scored and outfield catches taken, for the county.

International recognition came with England A in 1999, and with the Senior team in 2000. He had an excellent international career, across 76 tests in which he scored nearly 6,000 runs. When England regained the Ashes for the first time in 20 years in the legendary 2005 series, Marcus averaged over 40 and he was awarded an MBE for his part in the victory.

His distinguished and continuing county career is now combined with expert commentary for Sky TV.

In 2006, episodes of anxiety and major depression forced his withdrawal from international cricket. He made the England tour to Australia in 2006-07, but his illness forced him to come home. He was unable to return to international cricket, and he retired from it in 2008. In that year, he released an autobiography, ‘Coming Back to Me’.

This book won the William Hill Sports Book of the Year and resulted in Marcus becoming a Patron of Anxiety UK.

As orator, Professor Roland Jones (Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology) reflected on the importance of Marcus’ openness and candour about his mental health issues: “His willingness to bring these issues into the public spotlight, was widely commended for its honesty and integrity.”

Marcus Trescothick said: “It’s a great honour to receive this recognition from the University of Bath and to be back in the City where I spent so many of my formative years. The University has such a strong reputation when it comes to sport, science and health and it’s the applied nature of everything that it does in these fields that makes me excited about the association I hope to forge in the years ahead. My sincere congratulations to all those graduating in this week’s Winter Graduation ceremonies.”