An Eastbourne man who died suddenly will have a graduation ceremony and be awarded his degree posthumously, with honours.
Henry Chapman, well-known for holding the popular Winter Wonderland event in town each year, died on January 4 this year, age 33, before he could officially complete his course.
Despite this, his university is awarding him his degree in BA (Hons) Community and Social Care Policy at a special ceremony next Thursday (July 18).
Henry’s sister Louise Chapman said, “We as a family are going up on his behalf to proudly accept his diploma. The university have been very supportive and held a celebration of life for my brother in February.
She said, “He was full of life and always willing to help people. He did a lot of work for LGBT. He is sadly missed everyday and as a family we are all struggling with the loss of a son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin and friend.
“He was the life of any party and would always make people laugh. He is an inspiration even now. We will never forget the things his done and will always be loved.”
Students who knew Henry at the University of Central Lancaster have also raised funds to contribute towards a tree being planted on campus alongside a small plaque, which will act as a permanent memorial.
The tree will be planted before Henry is posthumously awarded his degree on Thursday.
Dr Cath Larkins, Director of the Centre for Children and Young People’s Participation at UCLan, worked closely with Henry.
She said, “Henry promoted the rights and wellbeing of his fellow students and his election as school president demonstrates the respect he earned from his peers. He also worked within UCLan, nationally and internationally, to campaign to make higher education and LGBTQI services more inclusive in Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT) communities.
“Students have told me how much they learned from just a short meeting with Henry. Academic colleagues from across Europe were so impressed with his knowledge and drive that they described him as a role model.
Dr Larkins said, “Henry’s passing is a great loss for his family and friends, and also for us as an institution.
“He taught us about the wisdom of listening to GRT community members and he demonstrated what can be achieved through passion and determination. I am very grateful for the opportunity I had to work with him and we will continue to learn from his example. He is sorely missed.”