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Scarborough RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager has received an honorary degree

Lifeboats News Release

Scarborough RNLI’s lifeboat operations manager has received an honorary degree from Hull University.

John Senior, a former Territorial Army officer turned businessman and charity founder, was honoured alongside students from the university’s local campus.

Held at the Spa, the degree ceremony was attended by graduates and families.

John said: 'I am hugely honoured and humbled to have been considered worthy to carry the title of honorary doctorate of the University of Hull, and all the responsibilities that go with it, particularly as in my earlier years I was far from a model student. In fact I was something of an educational disaster, believing it better to be the school comedian than to actually contribute anything useful to life.

'My wake-up call came when I found a letter written to my parents explaining why my school felt that an early departure was required and the line ‘If life was a one-horse race, then I am afraid John would very likely still come second’ made me realise that things clearly had to change. I vowed that from that very moment my parents would never have cause to be ashamed of me again, and today my only regret is that two of the three people who never lost faith in me couldn’t be here to share this wonderful moment with my wife Nicola and I.'

University registrar Jeannette Strachan paid tribute to John, describing him as “an inspirational figure", combining entrepreneurial drive with a commitment to worthwhile causes, both regionally and further afield.
'We hope his achievements will motivate our new graduates to strive for success in their chosen careers.'

Born in 1960, John was educated at Millfield School and attended Menlo Business College in California.

John describes himself as a serial entrepreneur and a devoted fan of Scarborough.

In 1984 he launched a bid to open the first major theme park in the North, at Cayton Bay. The scheme, backed by Ladbroke Leisure, didn’t gain planning permission. But it marked the beginning of a successful and diverse business career which has spanned over 35 years.

Today, John employs over 120 full- and part-time employees in his restaurant and property companies.

Complementing John’s business career is his military one. He joined the Territorial Army in 1980. As a Green Howard, he has served in Cyprus, Germany and Poland. Mobilised on Boxing Day 2001, he was the first member of the TA to be deployed on operational service to Afghanistan. As part of 16 Air Assault Brigade HQ, he played a pivotal role in re-establishing security and essential emergency services to the Kabul area.

On his return to the UK he raised over £60,000 for Project Geko, working to support Afghan schoolchildren and their basic educational needs. He was awarded the Territorial Decoration in 2006.

John is the founder of Heroes Welcome UK, a national network of towns, cities and counties pledged to actively support members of the armed forces and their families.

He has been an active member and chairman of Scarborough & Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team.

John chairs various regional tourism and business groups and is vice chairman of Welcome to Yorkshire Coast and Moors.

He is president of the Spanish urban area of Andalucía del Mar, Marbella.

John has been involved in fundraising for many charities and early this year was awarded the MBE for services to Scarborough and the armed forces through Heroes Welcome.

He and his wife Nicola have a daughter, Harriet.

RNLI Media contacts
For further details, ring Scarborough RNLI press officer Dave Barry on 07890 322992.

Key facts about the RNLI

The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.

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