Development and Alumni Relations


Development and Alumni Relations

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<Development and Alumni Relations ><Online Community >- About our Alumni


About our alumni

Notable alumni

Media, entertainment and the arts

Royalty and Politics

Guillaume Bayens, Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg (MBA 1996)

Prince Guillaume is Heir apparent to the crown of Luxembourg. His duties include Honorary Chairman of the Board of Economic Development of Luxembourg since 2001. He was formerly active with the Kraizberg Foundation, a charitable institution for the disabled. Guillaume represented Luxembourg in various celebrations in honour of Danish, Norwegian and Dutch royalty.

John Leech (Politics and Modern History 1994)

John Leech is a British Liberal Democrat politician. He became MP for Manchester Withington in 2005. In the 2005–2010 Parliament he was a member of the Transport Select Committee and was appointed a Shadow Transport Spokesperson in 2006. He was named 'Parliamentarian of the Year for Road Safety' by road safety charity Brake in 2008.

John McDonnell (Economics and Government 1977)

John McDonnell is a Labour Party politician, who has been the MP for Hayes and Harlington since 1997; he serves as Chair of the Socialist Campaign Group, the Labour Representation Committee, and the Public Services Not Private Profit group and is now the shadow chancellor. He is also Parliamentary Convenor of the Trade Union Co-ordinating Group of ten trade unions representing over half a million workers.

Anastasios Papaligouras (Comparative Law 1975)

Anastasios Papaligouras is a Greek lawyer and New Democracy politician. He was leader of ONNED (the New Democracy youth organisation) from 1976 to 1977. He was elected MP for Korinthia in the general elections of 1981, 1985, 1993, 1996 and 2000 and became Minister for Justice in the new government of Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis in 2004. In 2008, he became Minister for Mercantile Marine and Island Policy.

Pekka Sauri (PhD Psychology 1993)

Pekka Sauri is a Finnish psychologist and a Green League politician. He is currently the deputy mayor of Helsinki. He became well known in Finland during the late 1990s for hosting a popular radio show Yölinja ("Nightline") in which he tried to help callers with their various personal problems.

Seng Han Thong (MBA 1993)

Seng Han Thong is a Singaporean politician. He is a member of the People's Action Party, and represents the Yio Chu Kang constituency in the Parliament of Singapore. He was first elected to parliament in 1996, representing the Ang Mo Kio Group Representation Constituency; he was returned to his seat in 2001, and then in 2006 was elected to represent the Yio Chu Kang Single Member Constituency.

Alec Shelbrooke (Mechanical Engineering 1998)

Alec Shelbrooke is a Conservative Party politician, who was elected at the 2010 general election as the MP for Elmet and Rothwell, a new constituency created as a result of changes made by the Boundary Commission for England.

Lord Tomlinson (Public and Social Administration 1976)

John Tomlinson is a Labour Co-operative politician. He is a life peer in the House of Lords, and was previously a Member of Parliament from 1974 to 1979, and an Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1984 to 1999.

Shailesh Vara (Law 1984)

Shailesh Vara is a Conservative Party politician. He was elected Member of Parliament for North West Cambridgeshire in 2005 and was reelected in 2010. From Nov 2006 he served as Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, and then as a Government Whip from 2010-2012.

Claire Ward (European Politics 1995)

Claire Ward is a British Labour Party politician. She served as the MP for Watford from 1997 to 2010, and was a Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Ministry of Justice from 2009 to 2010. Since June 2011 she has been executive director of the Independent Pharmacy Federation. .


Tony Adams, MBE (Sports Sciences 2006)

Tony Adams is a football manager and former Arsenal defender. He is considered one of the greatest Arsenal players of all time by the club's own fans and was included in the Football League 100 Legends. With Arsenal, he won four top flight division titles, three FA Cups, two Football League Cups, a UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and three FA Community Shields. When his playing career finished he went into football management, spending periods in charge of Wycombe Wanderers, Portsmouth and Azerbaijan side Gabala.

Eni Aluko (LLB Law 2008)

Eni Aluko is an England football forward who plays for Chelsea Ladies. Eni was named Young Player of the Year at the Women’s FA Awards in 2003. She represented Team GB in football in the 2012 London Olympics, reaching the quarter finals. She was part of the national team that won the Cyprus Cup in 2013. She is also a trainee solicitor at Lee and Thomson.

Kola Adedoyin (Sport Sciences 2013)

Kola Adedoyin is a British athlete and 2012 National Indoor Triple Jump Champion.

Ashley Bryant (Sport Sciences 2013)

Ashley Bryant is a British Decathlete who won a silver medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2014.

Mike Coughlan (Mechanical Engineering 1981)

Mike Coughlan is a race car designer. In 2011 he became the Chief Designer for Williams F1, and is now Technical Director there. Previously posts include Chief Designer for the McLaren Formula One team.

James Cracknell OBE (Sport Science 1999)

James Cracknell is a rower, double Olympic gold medallist and six-time World Champion. Since retiring from rowing, he has undertaken a range of extreme endurance challenges including rowing the Atlantic and the South Pole Race. He became the fastest Briton to complete the Marathon de Sables in 2012 and has represented Great Britain in triathlon.

Abi Ekoku (Combined Studies 1990)

Abi Ekoku is a former Rugby League player and manager, and a former GB athlete. He managed the GB national rugby league team and as CEO at Bradford Bulls, saw his team win the Superleague, Challenge Cup and World Club Championship. He spent six years as a professional rugby league player with Bradford Bulls, Halifax and London Crusaders. Prior to this, he represented Great Britain and England at the Commonwealth Games, European Athletics Championships, and was AAA’s National Champion in the Discus in 1992. He was also UK Champion in the early the early 1990s.

Heather Fell (Physiotherapy 2004)

Heather Fell is an Olympic silver medallist and one of Britain’s top modern pentathletes. Heather has been successful on both the World and European stages and in 2008 picked up her Olympic silver medal at the Beijing games and a gold at the World Cup. She won silver at the 2010 World Championships. She was voted as Brunel’s Alumna of the Year in 2009.

Brett Garrard (Business Studies and Sport Sciences 1999)

Brett Garrard was the captain of Great Britain and England Hockey teams and competed in the 2000 and 2004 Summer Olympic Games. Her retired from international hockey in 2008 and is now Head Coach of Surbiton Ladies, and Hockey Professional at Reed’s School.

Ben Gollings (Sport Sciences 2005)

Ben Gollings is a rugby union player and IRB7s Series all-time top scorer. He has previously played for England Sevens, and most recently Rugby Lions. He is also a coach and commentator.

Roger Hammond (Management and Materials Technology 1996)

Roger Hammond is a cyclist, specialising in cyclo-cross and road cycling. He was the British road champion in 2003 and 2004. He has ridden for Discovery Channel, Team High Road, Cervélo TestTeam and Garmin-Cervélo. He represented Great Britain in the 2005 and 2006 Tour of Britain. In July 2012 Roger was announced as the Team Manager of the Madison Genesis team.

Audley Harrison MBE (Sport Sciences and Leisure Management 1999)

Audley Harrison is a professional British boxer from Harlesden who fights in the heavyweight division. At the 2000 Olympics in Sydney he became the first British fighter to win an Olympic gold medal in the superheavyweight division. After his medal win, Harrison was awarded an MBE. He briefly retired in 2013, but rescinded his decision shortly afterwards.

Richard Hill MBE (Geography and Sports Sciences 1995)

Richard Hill is a former Rugby Union player. He played flanker for Saracens and England and helped England win the World Cup in 2003, for which he received an MBE.

Lizzy Janes (Physiotherapy 2006)

Lizzy Janes (previously Lizzy Hall) is an international athlete competing as a 3000m cross country runner and steeplechaser. She represented Great Britain at the 2006 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and competed at the European Athletic Championships twice.

Samual Knight (Aerospace Engineering 2014)

Samual Knight graduated in 2014 with an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from Brunel. He has many achievements in rowing and has represented GB and England in international competitions. He has been selected to row for Great Britain three times, and for England twice. These included taking Gold and Bronze in the 2010 Junior European Championships in the Quadruple Scull. In addition, he has seven national championships to his name.

Catherine Murphy (Law 1997)

Catherine Murphy’s international athletics career spanned 13 years (1993-2006) during which time she won six national titles over 200m and 400m. She competed at World and European Championships as well as Commonwealth and Olympic Games. Her best individual achievement was 4th place in the 400m in the World Indoor Championships in 2003 and the highlight of her career was finishing in 4th place in the final of the 4 x 400m relay in the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Abi Oyepitan (Politics and Sociology 2001)

Abi Oyepitan is a sprint athlete. She won the 100m at the 2001 Summer Universiade and at the 2002 Commonwealth Games she took a bronze medal with the 4x100m team. She became one of Britain's best female sprinters and the first British female to reach an Olympic final in a sprint event since Kathy Cook. She won a silver medal for England at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in the 200m and a gold medal when she anchored the 4x100m relay team to a win.

Agustin Pichot (Business Studies & Sport Sciences 2002)

Agustín Pichot (born 22 August 1974 in Buenos Aires) is a retired Argentine Rugby Union scrum-half, formerly captain of the Argentine team and Bristol Rugby. He also played for French sides Stade Français and Racing Métro after leaving Argentine team CASI from San Isidro in 1997. In 2011, he was inducted into the IRB Hall of Fame.

Perri Shakes-Drayton (Sport Sciences 2011)

Perri Shakes-Drayton is an athlete specialising in the 400m hurdles. She won double gold in the 2013 European Indoor Championships for 400m and 4x400m. She was also 2012 World Indoor Champion in 4x400m relay and won double bronze at the 2010 European Championships for 400m hurdles and 4x400m relay.

Tom Shanklin (Sports Sciences 2004)

Tom Shanklin is a former rugby union player who played outside centre for Cardiff Blues and Wales. He is Wales' most-capped centre. He played club rugby for London Welsh and then Saracens, before joining Cardiff Blues in 2003.

Kelly Sotherton (Sports Science with Leisure Management 1998)

Kelly Sotherton is a former heptathlete and 400m sprinter. She was the bronze medallist at the 2004 Summer Olympics and was fourth at the 2008 Summer Olympics. She also won bronze at the 2007 World Championships in Athletics, and was the heptathlon gold medallist at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Iwan Thomas (Leisure Management and Sports Sciences 1995)

Iwan Thomas is a former sprinter who represented Great Britain at the Olympic Games in the 400m and Wales at the Commonwealth Games. He is the current UK and Commonwealth record holder at 400m and is a former European and Commonwealth Games Champion.

Kate Walsh (Sport Sciences 2003)

Kate Walsh is the Great Britain and England Hockey captain and has represented her country more than 290 times. She has played in three Olympic Games (2000, 2008 and 2012), and the World Cup, European Cup, Champions Trophy, Commonwealth Games and Champions Challenge multiple times. She has led the team to win many medals during her ten years as captain, including bronze at the 2012 Olympics, 2010 World Cup and Commonwealth Games and a silver at the 2012 Champions Trophy. She was shortlisted for the World Player of the Year Award in 2003, and awarded GB Hockey’s Athlete of the Year in 2007.

Ron Wilson (Building Technology 1977)

Ron Wilson was the Scotland Rugby Union fly-half from 1976 to 1993. He is now Technical Director at Farr & Roberts building firm in Maidenhead.

2017 Alumnus of the Year

John Dangerfield  - (Materials Engineering & Management 2002) 

Former student President, John, manages the largest service contracts for Babcock International, delivering critical services to Heathrow Airport. He also leads on the recruitment and assessment of graduates into his business.  John Dangerfield

His career began with the successful completion of the prestigious Siemens S5 graduate scheme and then he worked as a Service Recovery Manager for British Airways and as a Contracts Manager for the NHS, before moving on to Babcock. 

John has been a mentor in Brunel’s Women in Engineering programme since its inception. He regularly offers his time for widening participation activities at Brunel and beyond sharing his invaluable knowledge and experiences with his mentees and other students. He has also volunteered his time for the university on various other occasions, giving talks and supporting student recruitment activities. 

After competing for Brunel Racing in the Institute of Mechanical Engineers’ (IMechE)Formula Student competition, John returned as a judge and has judged 1,200+ teams over 13 years at both UK and USA events. He was then promoted to Head Cost Judge leading a team of 50+ judges. John gives countless hours to the development and growth of the next generation of engineers. 

John cherished his time at Brunel and all it gave him. He acts without hesitation to give back to the university and is a model Brunel graduate, performing and behaving exceptionally both professionally and personally. Congratulations to John on wining this award. We are delighted that your contributions to Brunel have been formally recognised and rewarded. 

2016: Tim Backshall

Tim studied Industrial Design at Brunel at the courses’ inception (1989), and was part of the first year to graduate from the programme. He went on to have a successful career in design before starting his own business, Integrity, in 1997. The company has two main objectives: outstanding client service and a Tim Backshalldynamic workplace environment. The first aim drives them to provide a complete service to clients to achieve consistency across all aspects of their brand, ensuring that the values of the client organisation are properly represented in all aspects of their business. The second objective is to create a great place to work, where people are valued for their strengths, and where the benefits of teamwork create a strong culture around helping others to do their very best for clients. Integrity provides brand services to well-known companies, including Waitrose, Volkswagen, Virgin and CenterParcs, and also in the public sector for police forces, universities and the NHS.

Tim credits the skills and thinking that Brunel instils in its designers which helped him shape both the company and its unique service offerings, focusing on brand implementation - bringing brand vision to life. This also led Tim to look to Brunel in 2003 when he decided to take on his first placement student, and marked the beginning of a long and fruitful employment relationship with Brunel.

In the years since, Tim and Integrity have employed many placement students, as well as taking on a growing number of graduates. Currently, Integrity has 13 Brunel alumni amongst their staff of 19 people. During their involvement with Brunel, Tim has employed 14 placement students, six of whom returned to Integrity for permanent employment after graduation, and 18 Brunel alumni as graduate employees. This translates into 88 years-worth of employment, with total salaries paid to Brunel graduates and undergraduates of over £2 million! At Integrity, Tim has created an environment that encourages and nurtures development in young graduates. Four out of the five members of the company’s current senior team originally joined as new graduates. Three of them are Brunel graduates and two undertook placements at the company during their time as students.

We are delighted to hear of Tim’s success and cherish his ongoing relationship with Brunel. We are very proud to present the award to him this year.

2015: Greg Duggan and Damien Kennedy

We received more nominations than ever before for the 2015 Alumnus of the Year. We saw an impressive range of alumni achievements and many examples of alumni continuing to support Brunel students through various types of volunteering. From the shortlist, you voted for your favourites, and after a close contest, we are2015 Alumni Of The Year pleased to announce that this year’s joint winners are Greg Duggan (Sport Sciences 2008) and Damien Kennedy (Sport Sciences 2008).

Greg and Damien met at Brunel where they studied Sport Sciences together. After graduation, Greg went on to teach at The Charter School in Southwark, while Damien joined Barking Abbey Basketball Academy as Head Coach.

Then in 2012, thanks to their shared interest in good nutrition, they had an idea for a great tasting but healthy ice cream. They founded WheyHey - the world’s first high-protein ice cream, which is low in fat and uses natural sweetener xylitol, which has no insulin response and is recommended by dentists.

The response to their product was incredible. When their first large order of 1,000 pots came in from Holland & Barrett, the pair struggled to deliver such a substantial volume. The batch sold out in just three days and the customers wanted more. Wheyhey was a huge hit but they had to work tirelessly and pool all their resources to try and meet the demand. Eventually they managed to scale up their production and grow the business.

The company, which is now forecast to turn over £2.5m this year and employs nine full-time staff, was able to grow thanks, in part, to social media. But, in recognition of their innovation and pioneering approach, they also won the Virgin Media Pioneer Award. This programme gives exciting new companies a range of resources and opportunities to help develop their businesses.

The ice cream has a growing number of celebrity fans including supermodel David Gandy and One Direction’s Harry Styles. Greg and Damien have also recently developed Coco Pro; a new protein-rich coconut water that is designed to provide the ultimate recovery drink.

Despite the incredible success of their business, Greg and Damien recently found time to return to Brunel to speak to students in the Entrepreneur’s Society to share their experiences and advice.

We are delighted to hear of their success and very proud to present the award to Greg and Damien this year.

2014: Dr. Hannah Critchlow

Hannah Critchlow graduated from Brunel in 2003 with a BSc in Cell and Molecular Biology, with First Class Honours.

During her studies here, Hannah was an exemplary student and was awarded three university prizes for ‘Best Biologist’.

Hannah went on to complete a PhD in Neuropsychiatry at the University of Cambridge, where she was also awarded a Magdalene College, Cambridge University Hannah CritchlowFellowship.

Inspired through her work as a nursing assistant at St Andrews Psychiatric Hospital, she went on to work as Strategic Manager for Cambridge Neuroscience. On secondment she helped steer and coordinate the re-launch of the British Neuroscience Association between 2010 and 2011. She credits her eye-opening experiences working on the ward with leading her to pursue a career in neuroscience and her desire to educate the public.

In 2013 she was named as one of Cambridge University's "inspirational and successful women in science".

Hannah now works as a presenter on the weekly BBC radio programme The Naked Scientists. Hannah along with her fellow presenters are "a media-savvy" group of physicians and researchers from the University of Cambridge who promote science to the general public in a fun and accessible manner,stripping it down to its bare essentials.The programme is aimed at those aged 14 and upwards and Hannah has explored topics as wide-ranging as Smallpox, sleep deprivation, Alzheimer's and morality.

Earlier this year in recognition of her work, she was named as one of the UK's 100 leading scientists by the Science Council. She was featured in the 'Communicator Scientist' category for her "energy and enthusiasm for communicating complex science issues in an accessible way".

Hannah continues to share her love of science through a busy public speaking schedule which has included appearances at schools, literary festivals and science festivals among others. Her ability to engage audiences is exceptional.

Hannah has just started working with Headcase, a new mental health awareness project, empowering people through open discussion and knowledge about the brain.

2013: Jordan Chitty

Jordan (BSc Industrial Design, 2007) studied Industrial Design at Brunel. During his placement year he worked for leading design consultancy iDC before he returned to Brunel for his final year to lead the team that coordinated the Made in Brunel show. By 2007 he had graduated with a first class honours degree and started his own business, Naked Creativity.

Naked Creativity is a central London design consultancy with a five-strong team ofJordan Chitty creative and technicalJordan Chitty individuals all passionate about web, graphic and branding design. Over the last six years, the company has gone from strength to strength with clients including Virgin Wines, London South Bank University and Olympic Delivery Authority.

Jordan has maintained strong links with Brunel. Since the launch of Naked Creativity, he has taken on students from Brunel for year-long work placements, providing invaluable practical experience of working within the industry. This is a crucial part of the student experience and in offering these placements Jordan has helped launch the careers of a number of his fellow alumni. He has also gone on to employ two Brunel graduates on a permanent basis. Last year he helped develop the Made in Brunel website.

Jordan is a great role-model for Brunel students. Not only has he made a great success of his own business, but he has also shown outstanding commitment to the university both during and after his studies. He continues to make a genuine and significant difference to the lives of our students.

2012: Ross Ramgobin

2011: Nathaniel Peat

Nathaniel (BEng Mechanical Engineering, 2001) is an entrepreneur highly committed to helping people realise their dreams. One of his most compelling traits is his dedication to helping young people rise above crime and make a positiveNathaniel Peat difference in their own lives as well as in the lives of others in their community.

In 2006, he founded the company The Safety Box to help youths tackle the growing problems of anti-social behaviour, bullying, low self-esteem, crime and violence in society. In 2007 he was the first double award winner of the Enterprising Young Brits competition. 2008 saw him feature on the BBC’s The Last Millionaire TV series. By 2009, he was a speaker at Jamaica’s first Youth Diaspora Conference. Then come 2010 he represented Great Britain as a youth delegate for the G20 Toronto Young Entrepreneur’s Summit and in 2011 he featured in the JP Morgan Black Power List.

During all this time, Nathaniel has remained connected with and supportive of Brunel University, inspiring others to follow in his footsteps. He is a tremendous role-model for Brunel students and frequently speaks at events and engages with Brunel students to inspire them.

2010: Peter Ward

Peter WardPeter (Economics and Business Finance, 2001) is an entrepreneur and founder of the travel website Where Are You Now, aka He was awarded for his business success and his huge commitment to helping others - particularly students at Brunel - in achieving their goals.

As a Brunel student Peter was already an entrepreneur, having experimented with setting up companies before he graduated. WAYN is now one of the world’s largest travel and lifestyle social networking community, with a presence in 220 countries. Membership has grown from 45,000 users in March 2005 to over 21.8 million today.

Since graduating Peter has been extremely supportive of Brunel and its students. He regularly comes to the University to assist with judging projects and to give inspirational talks to our current students. Peter has also been a strong supporter of the Brunel Entrepreneurs’ Society advising many aspiring entrepreneurs. .

2009: Heather Fell

In 2009, Brunel made its inaugural award to Heather Fell (BSc Physiotherapy, 2004), one of Britain’s leading Modern Pentathletes in recognition of her outstanding sporting achievements, particularly her silvHeather Feller medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Heather is one of Britain’s most successful pentathletes, achieving notable success, including taking the 2003 World Junior Championship, whilst studying for her BSc in Physiotherapy at Brunel.

Coming through career-threatening injuries in 2006, Heather showed not only determination, but also a serious aptitude for multi-tasking as she was training for five events while holding down three jobs in order to meet the costs of being an international athlete.

This dedication clearly paid off as Heather won medals in the World Cup, the European and World Championships, qualified for the Olympics which culminated in a fantastic Silver medal at the Beijing Games, taking her to the top of the World rankings.

Throughout all this, Heather has remained tremendously supportive of Brunel and is a great ambassador for the University. .

Page last updated: Tuesday 18 July, 2017