Honorary degrees, July 2010: no.2 Baroness Byford of Rothley
Hazel Byford is a Conservative politician who has been active in Leicestershire affairs for many years, including contributions to the work of the University and the cathedral. She will receive an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Leicester on 14 July.
The daughter of Sir Cyril Osborne, Conservative MP for Louth in Lincolnshire, Byford was born in Rothley, educated in Scotland and then learned poultry farming Northamptonshire Agricultural College (now Moulton College).
Her career in public service began when she joined the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service at the age of twenty; from 1972 to 1976 she was County Organiser of the Leicestershire WRVS.
In 1986 she was made Chairman of the East Midlands Women's Conservative Committee from where her political career progressed through regional and national positions within the Conservative Party for ten years, culminating in chairing the 1996 Tory Party Conference.
Byford was subsequently made a life peer and took the title Baroness Byford of Rothley. From 1997 to 2007 she was opposition spokesperson on agriculture, environment and food and also served as Tory Whip in the House of Lords.
Locally, Baroness Byford’s duties have included a seat on the Court of the University of Leicester, which is the University’s principal governing body. She has also served as Honorary Canon of Leicester Cathedral and President of Leicestershire Clubs for Young People.