RAU announces Honorary Fellowships for 2014

The RAU, Cirencester

The RAU, Cirencester - Credit: Archant

The Royal Agricultural University has announced its Honorary Fellows for 2014, which will be awarded at convocation, the University’s annual degree ceremonies, to be held in Cirencester Parish Church on July 29 and 30. Fellowships are awarded to people who have made significant contributions to those areas of life in which the University provides education and research.

This year, Fellowships are being awarded to:

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown MP

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown qualified from the Royal Agricultural College in 1975 having completed the Diploma in Rural Estate Management. Following a period as an investment surveyor, he entered the House of Commons in 1992 and has held a number of parliamentary positions since, including a number relating to farming and the environment. A farmer himself, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown also has a particular interest in trade and foreign affairs, and has been particularly helpful to the RAU in fostering overseas relationships, particularly in China where he recently visited the University’s office in Beijing.

Henry Cator OBE, FRICS, DL

Henry Cator qualified from the Royal Agricultural College in 1978 having completed the Diploma in Rural Estate Management , and has worked as a land agent for over 30 years in Norfolk where he was born and raised. A Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, he is currently Chairman if the Royal Agricultural Society of England and Chairman of the Association of Drainage Authorities and Broads Internal Drainage Board. He was Chairman of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association for 10 years and President in 2009; he served as High Sheriff of Norfolk in 2012. Henry Cator was awarded the OBE in 2008 for services to the community in Norfolk.

James Townshend

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James Townshend studied farm business at the Royal Agricultural College, being awarded the Diploma in Advanced Farm Management programme in 1975. He subsequently joined the land agency profession before joining Velcourt in 1978. Initially managing large arable farms in Norfolk, James was subsequently made Managing Director of Stoke Bomford Farms Ltd, and in 1985 Stoke Bomford Chemicals Ltd. Appointed a Director of the Velcourt Group in 1987, he is today both Chairman and Velcourt Group Chief Executive. James is currently also a non-Executive Director of Grosvenor Farms Ltd and Openfield Grain Ltd, among other property and agricultural companies. He is a member of the UK Government steering groups for ‘sustainable agriculture and food innovation’, the Global Food Security Strategy Advisory Board, and Agri-Tech Leadership Council. In 2012, James Townshend was appointed Business Ambassador for the UK’s Food and Agricultural Industries by the Prime Minister. James lives on the family dairy farm in Dorset, which has 1,900 cows in milk. His family also manage arable farms in Hampshire and in Ohio in the USA.


The Royal Agricultural University recently celebrated the one year anniversary of its university title with a high employment rate. Students graduating at this year’s Convocation can benefit from 96.3% employment rates for undergraduates and 97.5% employment rates for postgraduates, based on a recent survey of 2013 graduates.

For more information, contact shelly.hampshire@rau.ac.uk on 01285 652531.