Sir Lenny Henry becomes chancellor of Birmingham City University


Comedian Sir Lenny Henry has been made the new chancellor of Birmingham City University.

The appointment comes after the actor, writer and charity campaigner visited the institution last year to see how it opens doors to the creative arts for young people from a range of backgrounds.

Sir Lenny Henry has become the new Chancellor of Birmingham University (Ian West/PA)

Sir Lenny said: "Taking on the role of chancellor at Birmingham City University is a superb opportunity for me to pursue three passions - Birmingham and the West Midlands, the creative arts, and giving life-changing opportunities to young people from a wide range of backgrounds.

"Birmingham City University has facilities that rival anything in the television industry, is right in the centre of a city that has changed beyond recognition in recent years, and offers the sort of contemporary education I would have killed for when I was a kid."

Sir Lenny is the founder of Comic Relief (John Stillwell/PA)

Sir Lenny was born in Dudley, near Birmingham, in 1958, and shot to fame in 1975 when his stand-up comic routine won TV talent show New Faces.

In 1985 he co-founded Comic Relief, and in 2015 he was knighted in the Queen's Birthday Honours for services to drama and charity.

Earlier this year he was presented with a special Bafta award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to television.

Sir Lenny was knighted last year (John Stillwell/PA)

Professor Cliff Allan, vice-chancellor of the university, said: "We are absolutely delighted that one of the country's most well-known personalities is to be our new chancellor.

"He not only encapsulates the university's commitment to both the arts and widening participation, but he is a strong advocate for Birmingham and the region, including his home town of Dudley."