A BROADWAY and West End actress, a former university chaplain and a 72-year-old mature student were among the people receiving degrees and honourary fellowships at the University of Wales, Newport, on Saturday.

Wendy Boycott, 72, from Penallt in Monmouthshire, received her BA (Hons) in Religious Studies and Philosophy after six years of part-time study at the Caerleon Campus.

"Retirement was boring so my daughter persuaded me to take the course on," said Wendy, who kept The Bush Inn in Penallt for 12 years before retiring.

"My daughter did the same course and is now a teacher. I didn't go to university when I was younger and always regretted it. I'm interested in religion and hadn't studied it previously, but friends and family have given me a lot of encouragement.

"I'd definitely recommend returning to education to others, it's good to mix with young people."

Actress Caroline Sheen, a cousin to Hollywood star Michael Sheen , received an Honorary Fellowship at the University's Caerleon Campus, a place she used to walk past every day on her way to school.

"My mum used to be head teacher at the Lodge and she was thrilled that something so local and so prolific was honouring me," said Caroline, 36, who is pregnant and due to give birth in around seven weeks.

She has been acting professionally for 15 years and was a member of the Gwent Young People's Theatre as well as the Cwmbran Operatic Society. Her father John Sheen directs and acts with the Newport Playgoers while cousin Michael is also star of stage and screen.

Father Mark Soady, the Vicar of Abergavenny and former Chaplain to the Caerleon Campus, also received an Honorary Fellowship.

Father Soady established the Chaplaincy four years ago and said he felt "privileged" to be made a Fellow.

"Roy Jenkins was the first Honorary Fellow and I worked for him for a number of years, so that adds an extra dimension," said Father Soady, 52, who started his career as a psychiatric nurse before being ordained as a priest 15 years ago in St David's.

Also receiving an award on Saturday was Dr Phillip Morgan, a senior lecturer in psychology, who was given the Chairman's Award.