Honour for Bishop Auckland millionaire Jonathan Ruffer

Jonathan Ruffer Image copyright Auckland Castle Trust
Image caption Jonathan Ruffer said Kynren would change not only Bishop Auckland, but also the entire region

A former investment banker who is spending £100m revamping a market town is to be honoured by Durham University.

Jonathan Ruffer bought Auckland Castle in Bishop Auckland, County Durham, in 2012 and saved a collection of 17th Century Spanish paintings in the process.

He is turning the castle into an international arts, faith and heritage centre.

The university is to make him an Honorary Doctor of Letters.

The 66-year-old, who has a reported £380m fortune, has also funded an open-air show depicting 2,000 years of English history.

Image copyright Peter Haygarth
Image caption Kynren tells the story of English history over the past 2,000 years, and includes a number of battle scenes

Kynren is staged in a purpose-built arena in Bishop Auckland and attracted more than 100,000 visitors last year.

Mr Ruffer, who was born in London, but raised in Stokesley, near Middlesbrough, said: "I'm delighted. Durham University is the pride of the county, and it is a pleasure to be more closely associated with it.

"My grandfather was professor of Medicine there a century ago, and I am sure he would be pleased, too."

Also being honoured at a ceremony at the university later this month, are pioneering filmmaker Chris Terrill and children's charity worker Wendy Shepherd.

Prof Stuart Corbridge, vice-chancellor of Durham University, said: "I congratulate all of our graduates and wish them well as they embark upon the next chapter of their lives.

"All three of our honorary graduates are great innovators in their field and I am sure our students will draw inspiration from them."

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