Sir Jimmy Young honoured by Gloucestershire university

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Media captionSir Jimmy was born in Cinderford in the Forest of Dean

Veteran broadcaster Sir Jimmy Young has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Gloucestershire.

The 91-year-old was awarded a Doctorate of Arts in recognition of his outstanding service to broadcasting and his association to the county.

Sir Jimmy, who was born in Cinderford, in the Forest of Dean, hosted a daily show on BBC Radio 2 for 35 years and was a successful singer in the 1950s.

The graduation ceremony was held at The Centaur, Cheltenham Racecourse.

Sir Jimmy told graduating students he was "delighted and flattered that the University of Gloucestershire still remembers me, given that a war took me away from my home in Cinderford in 1939".

He recalled how he failed his first BBC audition and was told by the BBC executive he would "never be broadcasting material".

But he said he pressed on and eventually did his first broadcast on 9 August 1949.

Hall of Fame

"Luck may play a part in your plans for your future, the only advice I can give you is that if the door of opportunity opens you have to nip smartly through it before it slams in your face," Sir Jimmy told the audience.

"Whatever career you choose, always remember that successful communication with your audience, or your customer, or whoever, is vital and communication is a two-way street.

"Listening is just as important a part of communication as talking."

Sir Jimmy was inducted into the Radio Academy's Hall of Fame last year to honour his 90th birthday, and returned to the BBC with a special one-hour programme looking back over his career.

He began his career as a singer, signing to Polygon Records in 1950 and later Decca.

In 1955 he was the first British singer to have two successive number one hits. He blamed the emergence of Elvis for his declining career as a "crooner".

After a time with Radio Luxemburg, he joined BBC Radio 1 as one of the first DJs and presented the weekday mid-morning show from 1967 to 1973.

In 1973 he introduced current affairs to the schedule of BBC Radio 2, where he presented a regular programme until 2002.

Sir Jimmy was made an OBE in 1979, a CBE in 1993 and in 2002 he was knighted for his services to broadcasting. He continues to write a weekly column for the Sunday Express newspaper.

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