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University of Kent degrees for Chatham artist Billy Childish, Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh and KM Group chairman Geraldine Allinson

By Medway Messenger reporter

Artist Billy Childish will receive an honorary degree from the University of Kent at Rochester Cathedral today.

The artist and musician will be joined by Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh and KM Group chairman Geraldine Allinson in receiving the honours.

Billy Childish was born in Chatham. When he left school at 16, he could not get a place at art school and took an apprenticeship at the dockyard.

Artist Billy Childish

After six months, he became so frustrated that he smashed a 3lb club hammer down on his hand so he would have to leave the job.

He won a place at St Martin's School of Art and although he was expelled, he embarked on an artistic, literary and musical career that has seen him gain cult status worldwide.

He will receive a Doctor of Arts degree for his contribution to the arts and to Medway.

Geraldine Allinson, chairman of the KM Group

Media executive Mrs Allinson began her career in media in 1986 and joined the KM Group in 1993, which was her family’s media company.

Since then she has held a number of positions, including chairman from 2006 and president of the Newspaper Society in 2011-12.

She receives a Doctor of the University degree for her contribution to journalism.

Advocate for vulnerable children Camila Batmanghelidjh

Ms Batmanghelidjh was due to receive her honorary degree in 2012, but missed the occasion because of a family emergency.

She has founded two charities the place2b and Kids Company where she and her team care for 17,000 vulnerable children and young people in London.

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