Paralympic stars and art alumnus celebrate New Year’s honours


Clockwise from left: Kadeena Cox with her Paralympic gold medals in the Brooks building, Ryan Gander receiving his honorary degree in 2014, and MMU Sport Scholar Helen Scott

Paralympic gold medallists and a contemporary art alumnus from Manchester Metropolitan University were awarded prestigious New Year Honours for outstanding achievements in their fields.

Multiple gold medallist and University student Kadeena Cox was named an MBE alongside fellow Paralympic star and MMU Sport Scholar Helen Scott, who also won gold at this summer’s Rio games.

They are joined by Manchester School of Art alumnus and honorary graduate Ryan Gander, who was awarded an OBE for his services to contemporary arts.

It caps a remarkable year for physiotherapy student Kadeena who made her Paralympic games debut and achieved four medals across two sports – cycling and athletics – later becoming the flag bearer for the closing ceremony. She was also shortlisted for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award and is set to feature in winter sports TV programme The Jump.


Sport scholar Helen Scott also saw success at the Paralympics. The BSc Sport and Exercise Science student acts as tandem pilot to the visually impaired cyclist Sophie Thornhill. They won gold in the Women’s B kilo after clocking in at one minute 06.283 seconds – breaking the Paralympic record set moments before. They went on to add to the gold medal with a bronze medal in the 3000m individual pursuit.

You can read Helen’s MMU Sport blog on how it feels to be a Paralympic champion.

Neil Hurren, Strategic Lead for Sport at Manchester Metropolitan, said: “Helen and Kadeena have worked incredibly hard and deserve all that they’ve achieved.

“Everyone at MMU Sport is very proud to support them through our scholarship programme and we look forward to continuing to support them to realise their academic and athletic potential.


“It’s great to see our MMU Sport scholars being recognised at such an important level and we hope their profiles encourage a new generation of sport stars.”

International conceptual artist Ryan Gander, who graduated from the Manchester School of Art in 1999, was awarded an OBE.

Visiting lecturer Ryan has become one of the most significant conceptual artists in the UK, with work on show at Tate Modern, the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Modern Art New York and The National Museum of Art, Osaka.

In 2014, he spoke of his pride at being awarded an honorary Doctor of the Arts by Manchester Metropolitan. A Manchester School of Art alumni prize is named after him, which Ryan helps to choose and also generously matches the prize award each year.

Penny Macbeth, Dean of Manchester School of Art, said: “Ryan has become one of Britain’s most significant artists working today. We are hugely proud of the recognition he has received.

“Whilst operating in the conceptual field, his work uses humour and is highly accessible; it has also been described as rigorous and strange, focusing on storytelling and the power of ideas. The form of the work varies hugely, but has included a chess set, a new word, a children’s book, photography, film, drawings and artists’ cocktails.”