Lemn Sissay receives OBE from HRH Prince Charles
The University of Manchester Chancellor, poet and playwright, Lemn Sissay, has received his OBE for services to Literature and Charity from HRH Price Charles.
Since taking up the Chancellorship in 2015, Lemn Sissay MBE has contributed to the University significantly on a local, national and international scale.
In 2017 he launched the Lemn Sissay Law Bursaries, which aims to address underrepresentation of black males in the legal profession. Further afield, Lemn has helped the University expand our Equity and Merit Scholarships for funded master’s degrees to include prospective Ethiopian students.
The Sissay PhD Scholarship for Care Leavers has been running for six years and The Lemn Sissay Foundation, established in Manchester, organises Christmas dinners for care leavers in locations across the UK, including here in Manchester, Stockport and Wigan.
After receiving his honour for services to literature and charity from the Prince of Wales, the poet and playwright said: “If I had said to him that one day you will be in Windsor Castle to receive an OBE from Prince Charles, I would never have believed that kind of magical story – almost fairy tale – would happen.”
He added: “If you can go to that boy – who lost his family, who left children’s homes at 18 years of age and didn’t know anybody for longer than a year at that age and had spent all of those Christmases alone – if you were going to say to that child that, ‘In your adulthood you are going to be honoured for what it is that you do and who it is that you are but you have got to turn it down…’
“I just could not do that to him. This is a way of being able to honour service and what you were born to be. I was born to be a poet.
“The service is the work (I have done) for care leavers and it has come from my own experience.”
If I had said to him that one day you will be in Windsor Castle to receive an OBE from Prince Charles, I would never have believed that kind of magical story – almost fairy tale – would happen.