England Cricket Legend, Graham Gooch OBE, has been awarded an honorary degree by the University of East London.
Graham, who received the Honorary Doctor of Arts of the University of East London at the School of Architecture and the Visual Arts graduation ceremony in London's 02, is one of England's most illustrious cricketers. Graham first played Test Cricket in 1975 aged 21 against Australia.
He returned to the England team in 1978 and in 1980, he was awarded Wisden Cricketer of the Year. In 1988, he became England Captain and Professional Cricketers' Association Player of the Year in 1990. In 2001, he became Essex chief coach and in 2009 batting coach for England - a role that has now become permanent.
His present role crowns a distinguished career as captain of Essex and England and as one of the most successful international batsmen of his generation, recording 65,057 runs in a career running from 1973 to 2000. He is one of only 25 players who have scored over 100 first class centuries.
Speaking to a full house at this afternoon's graduation ceremony, Graham Gooch spoke of his pride at receiving this prestigious honour: "I feel truly honoured to have been chosen for this award and I'll think very fondly of this day for many years to come.
"As I grew up in East London and first started playing cricket here, it's always a place that has remained close to my heart and this award is something I will really cherish. Without doubt, the University of East London is going places with its ambitious sports programme and I understand they are striving to become the number one university for sport in London by 2015 and will be opening the doors of a new £21miillion sports facility for the local community next year.
"UEL also has an exciting crop of sports students, including Essex bowler, Tymal Mills, who was recently called up for the 2011-12 England Performance Programme squad. With this sort of talent on their books, I see no reason why UEL cannot reach their goal.
University of East London Vice Chancellor, Professor Patrick McGhee, said: "Graham Gooch is a true sporting legend, who will go down in history as one of England's greatest cricketers. With the University of East London striving to become the number one university for sport in London by 2015, Graham Gooch is a shining example of who we should be seeking inspiration from. It's been a great privilege to meet Graham and I'm delighted to present him with this honorary award."
Born in Leytonstone, East London, in 1963, Graham was educated at Norlington School for Boys. His father, who was a cabinet maker in Stratford, played local cricket and Graham recalls attending cricket matches every Sunday from his every early childhood. He left school at 16 and undertook an engineering apprenticeship for a year at Redbridge Technical College, while playing for Ilford Cricket Club. On the day he left the technical college, he signed for Essex, making his debut in 1973.
Graham was awarded an OBE in 1991 for services to sport.