Billy Connolly receives honorary degree from Strathclyde

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Sir Billy Connolly has received yet another honorary degree despite joking the closest he got to university “was to deliver coal”.

The Big Yin became an honorary doctor of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, just days after he was given a knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Billy Connolly outside Barony Hall receiving an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde. Picture; SWNS

Billy Connolly outside Barony Hall receiving an honorary degree from the University of Strathclyde. Picture; SWNS

Wearing a suit, bow tie and red graduation gown, Sir Billy stopped for photographs outside the Barony Hall and asked: “Do I look smart?”

He was recognised for his contribution to society, the latest honour he has received before his 75th birthday this year.

He said: “It’s a bit special, I must say. It’s becoming quite overwhelming.

“I’m wondering if they know something I don’t, you know?”

Picture; SWNS

Picture; SWNS

The comedian, singer and actor joked: “When you start getting the lifetime achievement stuff you think, ‘wait a minute’.”

The honorary degree is the fourth the former shipyard worker has received despite rarely setting foot in a university.

“The only time I was at university was to deliver coal,” Sir Billy said.

“I delivered some publications here (Strathclyde) when I was a messenger for John Smith’s Bookshop but that’s as near as I ever got.

Billy Connolly at the University of Strathclyde. Picture; SWNS

Billy Connolly at the University of Strathclyde. Picture; SWNS

“I’m the little boy who didn’t do his homework.”

Laughing, he added: “I think if I had got a degree I would hate me - if I was sitting there having worked my bum off, to see this lout going up to get a degree for nothing.

“My wife has a Phd and she frowns on these. She doesn’t really approve.

“It’s nice, I like to take it in the mood it was given to me.”

Sir Billy grew up in the Partick area of the city and worked in the Govan shipyards before pursuing a career as a folk singer in the Humblebums alongside the late Gerry Rafferty.

In 2013 he revealed he had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s and prostate cancer on the same day, but he has since been given the all-clear from cancer.

Returning to the stage, Sir Billy chose to mock his Parkinson’s symptoms during shows by playing Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On.

Asked how he was feeling on Thursday, Sir Billy said: “I’m okay. It comes and goes, you know.”

Clutching his degree scroll beside daughter Cara, he added: “It’s absolutely wonderful, it’s hard to describe.

“When I was first offered these kind of things I wanted to refuse but then I thought it was kind of churlish. I think it’s lovely.”

Sir Billy received his first honorary degree in July 2001, when the University of Glasgow awarded him an honorary Doctor of Letters degree.

In July 2006, the comedian was awarded an honorary doctorate by the Glasgow-based Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD, now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland).

In July 2010, he picked up a third honorary degree as Nottingham Trent University awarded him an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters.