Artist, writer and musician Bill receives honorary degree

Bill Drummond, centre, with university vice chancellor Nick Petford and Milan Shah, chairman of the board of governors
Bill Drummond, centre, with university vice chancellor Nick Petford and Milan Shah, chairman of the board of governors

Artist, writer and musician, Bill Drummond, has been presented with an honorary Master of Arts degree by the University of Northampton.

Accepting the award, the former pupil of Kingswood School, Corby, whose father was a Church of Scotland minister in the town, told students to work hard and aim high.

Drummond was born in Butterworth, South Africa, and his family returned to Scotland when he was 18 months old, moving to Corby when he was 11.

In 1970, he enrolled on a foundation course at Northampton School of Art, a predecessor institution of the University of Northampton.

He said: “The two years I spent studying here were the best two years of my education.”

After graduating, Drummond moved to Liverpool where, after a spell at the Art and Design Academy, he had various jobs before beginning a successful career in the music industry playing in and managing a succession of high profile bands, including KLF.

Since 1998 Drummond’s artistic work has been carried out under the name Penkiln Burn – the river in Scotland where he fished as a boy.

In March 2014, beneath Spaghetti Junction in Birmingham, Drummond embarked on a world tour which will end at the same place in April 2025.

His epic exhibition The 25 Paintings will take in 12 cities in 12 different countries and will represent the latest ground-breaking initiative in Drummond’s inspirational career.

Professor Nick Petford, vice chancellor of the University of Northampton, said: “In addition to celebrating the outstanding achievements of the graduating class of summer 2014, we are also recognising high profile individuals who have collectively impacted, directly or indirectly, many millions of people worldwide through their acting, music, charitable activities or the social enterprises they run. These recipients of honorary awards will, no doubt, motivate our graduates as they go out into the world and transform lives and inspire change among all those who come into contact with them.”