Scotland

Sir Billy Connolly receives honorary degree

Billy Connolly Image copyright Getty Images

Sir Billy Connolly has become an honorary doctor of Strathclyde University just days after he was given a knighthood in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.

The Big Yin, who was recognised for his contribution to society, joked that the closest he had got to university "was to deliver coal".

The comedian and actor will turn 75 later this year.

He said: "It's a bit special, I must say. It's becoming quite overwhelming."

He added: "I'm wondering if they know something I don't, you know?"

"When you start getting the lifetime achievement stuff you think, 'wait a minute'."

Shipyard worker

The honorary degree is the fourth the former shipyard worker has received, despite rarely setting foot in a university.

"The only time I was at university was to deliver coal," Sir Billy said. "I delivered some publications here (Strathclyde) when I was a messenger for John Smith's Bookshop but that's as near as I ever got.

"I'm the little boy who didn't do his homework."

He added: "I think if I had got a degree I would hate me - if I was sitting there having worked my bum off, to see this lout going up to get a degree for nothing.

"My wife has a Phd and she frowns on these. She doesn't really approve.

"It's nice, I like to take it in the mood it was given to me."

'Absolutely wonderful'

Sir Billy grew up in the Partick area of Glasgow and worked in the Govan shipyards before pursuing a career as a folk singer in the Humblebums alongside the late Gerry Rafferty.

In 2013 he revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's and prostate cancer on the same day, but he has since been given the all-clear from cancer.

Returning to the stage, Sir Billy chose to mock his Parkinson's symptoms during shows by playing Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On.

Asked how he was feeling while receiving his latest honour, Sir Billy said: "I'm okay. It comes and goes, you know."

He added: "It's absolutely wonderful, it's hard to describe.

"When I was first offered these kind of things I wanted to refuse but then I thought it was kind of churlish. I think it's lovely."

A recent BBC Scotland documentary celebrating his 75th year unveiled three huge murals on the walls of buildings in his home city.

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