University Chancellor Sanjeev Bhaskar pays tribute to his predecessor Lord Attenborough
The current Chancellor of the University of Sussex, actor and writer Sanjeev Bhaskar, has paid a personal tribute to his predecessor Lord Attenborough, who died on Sunday (24 August 2014).
“When I first met Lord Attenborough at a Commonwealth Dinner, I gently ribbed him about his films Gandhi and Jurassic Park. To my delight he called me a ‘cheeky bugger’ and insisted I link arms with him and walk him to his car.
“That first impression of a man, rightly lauded for all of his achievements but with a sparkling, down-to-earth humour and manner, stayed with me evermore. On hearing that I was to succeed him as Chancellor, he passed a message on to me, indicating how he thought I was the perfect choice. I was honoured and humbled.”
Mr Bhaskar took up the honorary appointment as figurehead of the University in 2009 and, in his duty of conferring degrees at Graduation ceremonies, has maintained the tradition begun by Lord Attenborough of making the celebrations lively and spirited.
“His shoes were impossible to fill but I have done my best to continue his warmth and regard towards every graduate and their families that I’m fortunate to meet at the Graduation ceremonies. To say he will be missed by all those in the worlds of entertainment, philanthropy and the University of Sussex, would be an understatement.
“He leaves us the gift, which is his life and his manner of living it. For that I say thank you, thank you, thank you.”