Graduates and University staff outside the Liverpool Cathedral

Jamie Carragher

Oration

Presented by: Professor Roger Webster

Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Jamie Carragher for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.     

This is a truly civic university, firmly rooted in this extraordinary city, and its defining ethos comprises three deceptively simple yet very powerful words: dream, plan, achieve.   

Each July during Graduation Week, the University's highest honour – an Honorary Fellowship – is bestowed on a select band of individuals outside the University, in recognition of their outstanding achievement in a given field or profession, and who personify and inspire others to 'dream, plan, and achieve.'  

Today we present Jamie Carragher for the award of Honorary Fellowship for his outstanding contribution to sport and work in the charitable sector. Liverpool is a fortunate city, blessed with some very notable features and institutions, which usually come in twos: two noble Liver Birds who watch over our great city and its river; two magnificent Cathedrals at either end of Hope Street, and two great football clubs – Liverpool and Liverpool Reserves.   

Bill Shankly, the legendary manager of Liverpool Football Club, said: "Football isn't a matter of life and death. It's much more important than that." His tone may have been humorous but the sentiment rings true: football has an important place in society and especially this city as it transcends race, culture, class, gender and age.

Those connected with the sport may not always be comfortable with the fame that accompanies their profession but they are nevertheless in a position of great influence.   

Jamie Carragher, Vice-Captain of Liverpool Football Club and father of two, is acutely aware that he is a role model for thousands of children and young people and has not only aimed to lead by example both on and off the pitch but has also taken positive and impressive steps to be a force for good to improve the lives of local children and their families.   

Jamie was born and grew up in Bootle, Merseyside, and, from an early age, demonstrated a unique talent for football. Aged 14 he attended the former FA School of Excellence in Lilleshall, Shropshire, and at 16 he began his involvement with Liverpool FC, playing for the youth team. 

Three years later, he made his professional debut for the club and in 1998 he became a first team regular.   

His many achievements at Liverpool Football Club include being part of the team which won the FA Cup, the League Cup and the UEFA Cup in 2001 and in 2003, he and his fellow players defeated Manchester United in the Carling Cup Final. In Istanbul in 2005 he played a crucial role in the unforgettable Champions League final against AC Milan, where a nail-biting penalty finish saw Liverpool become the victors.  

Internationally, Jamie has also excelled, breaking the England Under 21s appearance record in 1999 and joining the England squad for the European Championships in 2004, as well as playing in the 2006 and 2010 World Cup tournaments.   

There is no question that Jamie Carragher has an obvious talent and passion for football but it is his determination to give something back to the city he feels has supported him that makes him an outstanding individual.   

Throughout his career, Jamie has made regular contributions to charity which resulted in his being awarded the Freedom of Sefton in 2006. 

In 2009 he decided to set up his own charity, the 23 Foundation, which aims to make a difference to the lives of children and young people in Merseyside by giving them a chance to achieve their dreams, whether it be helping them to recover from illness or providing a framework to enable them to reach their goals.  

To kick-start the charity, Jamie and his family generously decided to donate all of the proceeds from his testimonial match to the 23 Foundation, raising £1 million. 

Last year the outstanding work of the charity earned Jamie the Philanthropist of the Year Award at the Spirit of Merseyside Awards where he modestly commented: "I'm in a fortunate position where I can do this work – there are other people who'd love to do things for charity but aren't in a position to do so. Footballers now earn a lot of money so I think it's only right that we give something back."  

Thus, it is with great pleasure that I present Jamie Carragher, this most distinguished son of our city, for the admission of our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.