It wasn't the first honour to be placed on Chrissie's shoulders in recognition of her lifelong fight for clearer public communications, but the Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU) held the most poignant memories for this grandmother in her seventies.
With an illiterate childhood in an inner-city slum of post-war Liverpool, education itself was a distant dream for Chrissie. To find herself standing beneath the great naves of Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, with thousands of LJMU graduates also receiving acknowledgement for their years of hard work, was beyond Chrissie's wildest dreams.
The rare standing ovation she received after her speech captured the fellowship of the people of Liverpool. The tears and smiles from the audience – people of all ages and from so many different backgrounds – confirmed Chrissie’s efforts, and those of all the people who have supported her through the years in the fight against jargon and gobbledygook, have been worthwhile.
Chrissie says, "Thank you to all those who have made this possible. I didn't dream of changing the world, but I did want to be a ray of hope for people who, like me, needed the confidence to ask for information in a way they could read, understand and do what was needed without feeling patronised, embarrassed and worthless."
Chrissie's speech echoed the ethos of the university – dream, plan and achieve. You can read her full speech here.
Links to coverage of the ceremony:
- Graduation photos
- Presentation speech
- Phil Redmond's comments on Chrissie's award
- Graduation ceremony video
- Liverpool Daily Post article
- Liverpool Daily Post article by Phil Redmond