Zoe praised her honorary father
Published 27 July 2012
TV and radio presenter Zoe Ball described her father, broadcaster Johnny Ball, as "the best daddy in the world" as he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Brighton.
Zoe was in the audience at the Brighton Dome this week (26 July) as Johnny received his doctorate for his work in popularising science and mathematics.
Zoe said: "Dad is so brilliant and clever and it is great he should be honoured by this university … my husband Norman (Fatboy Slim) was a student here so it's kind of in the family. Hopefully, I'll get to be a student here one day – when I grow up."
Johnny Ball, Doctor of Science, with his daughter Zoe Ball
Johnny said he was a failure at school and joked: "I got two 'O' levels – the equivalent to about 37 GCSEs today" but on a more serious note he advised the graduating teaching students that education was first and foremost about nurturing.
He said: "The kids you will be teaching – please treat them with the utmost care and utmost delicacy. Education is primarily nurture: patting on the head, encouraging, picking them up when they have fallen down. If anybody ever tells you that you can't touch a child they should not be within a hundred miles of education."
He said the trouble with education was that when children reach 11 they are treated as adults and left on their own: "That is why we have a terrible dip in education and we have got to rectify that." He said children should be about 13 when they should be given a chance to stand on their own. "I am part of a team that is building a free school and the first thing we are going to do is make sure we nurture the kids through 11 and 12 to 13."
Johnny said he was thrilled with his award and praised the university: "It really is a thrill to hear the present achievements of the University of Brighton – it is staggering what this university is doing, absolutely wonderful and I commend you for all that, for every aspect of that, especially being green. I think it is wonderful now that we are getting to the stage where we are accepting that being green is expedient to be so.
"We have a great future if we adopt our new technologies and if we think carefully what we are doing for the planet that we all love and treasure."
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Contact: Marketing and Communications, University of Brighton, 01273 643022