Honorary degree for World Cup ref Webb

SOUTH Yorkshire’s World Cup final referee Howard Webb is among leading local figures set to receive honorary degrees from Sheffield Hallam University.

Also set to be recognised is retired city headteacher Mo Laycock, who was principal at Firth Park Community College for 15 years.

Howard already has a close relationship with Hallam, receiving altitude training and mental coaching from the university’s psychologists and physiotherapists before the 2010 World Cup.

Howard, who is also a South Yorkshire Police officer, said he was delighted to receive the honour.

The 40-year-old, who refereed the finals of both the World Cup and the Champions League in 2010, said: “The degree cements my relationship with Sheffield Hallam and its academic staff. Their expertise proved invaluable in my journey to the World Cup final and I look forward to working with them during the forthcoming football league season.”

Mrs Laycock received an OBE earlier this year for her tireless education work, and retired from Firth Park in the summer of 2010.

She oversaw the transformation of Firth Park from being a poor performer to being recognised by Ofsted as ‘outstanding’ in many areas.

Hallam’s citation hails Mrs Laycock’s fine arts background and passionate belief in the power of the arts to enhance students’ motivation.

She said: “I have always been a strong supporter of Sheffield Hallam, so I am thrilled and very touched to be recognised in this way.”

Among those also to be honoured in ceremonies in November will be chair of St Luke’s Hospice Alex Pettifer MBE.