THE man who brought the Tour de France to Yorkshire has been awarded an honorary doctorate.

The University of York has conferred the honour to Welcome to Yorkshire chief Gary Verity.

He was one of about a dozen people to be presented with honorary awards at the university’s graduation ceremonies on July 16, 17 and 18.

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The businessman had success in transforming leading high street companies, including Bradford and Bingley’s loss-making retail property services into profit before joining Welcome to Yorkshire tourism agency. In his spare time he is an award-winning sheep farmer near Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.

And since his late wife Helen was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2004, he has raised more than £450,000 for cancer charities in Yorkshire.

Following the huge success of Tour de France, calls have been made for him to appear in the next honours list.

Also to receive an honorary doctorate was Liz Wilson, York Theatre Royal’s chief executive.

Under her leadership, the theatre is undergoing a £4m refurbishment, with a thriving youth theatre and nationally recognised TakeOver festivals.

She has also worked in the city to promote York's contemporary cultural strengths and attract a more diverse audience.