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Graham Fisher

Graham Fisher MBE

BSc (Hons) Combined Sciences 1975

Broadcaster and writer Graham Fisher MBE has enjoyed a decorated, varied and accomplished career in the media industry, dedicating much of his career to helping with the promotion and preservation of some of the nation’s most cherished beauty spots.

An Applied Science graduate, Graham has spent much of his working life discussing the preservation of Britain’s waterways, an often tireless task that saw him awarded an MBE in 2001.

A talented writer and presenter, he has written countless books and spoken regularly about the cause closest to his heart. His work has earned him national recognition, being featured on shows such as Countryfile, Escape to the Country and Barging Around Britain.

His work has taken him far away from his Science roots at Sunderland. However Graham, who originates from the Black Country, still fondly recalls his time at the University and acknowledges that the insights he picked up during his time in the North East has gone on to influence his work substantially.

He said: “I am proud of my time at Sunderland and what I achieved, modest as it may seem to the entrants of today.

“I really was a gifted biology student - with a blend of other sciences that seemed to hit the mark with my aspirations to be a scientist. Which I never actually became, but even now I constantly refer to my methodology in my work as being down to my ‘scientific discipline’, which has never left me and has served me well.”

During his time at Sunderland, Graham worked as a Social Secretary for the Student’s Union, a role he fully embraced, booking big name acts of the time such as Roy Wood, Jigsaw and Hot Chocolate to play at the University. Working with these artists would later inspire him to start his own music career, releasing an album and playing at Birmingham’s NEC Centre.

Quote Graham Fisher

Looking back, he has nothing but happy memories of his time at the Student’s Union. “I always relished the Saturday Night ‘bash’ in Wearmouth Hall,” he recalled. “Indeed for a time, I was Social Secretary of the Student’s Union during which time I booked, amongst others, Stealer’s Wheel, Jigsaw, Beckett and Hot Chocolate - all for twenty five quid! Roy Wood was an exception because he had a light-show so he charged thirty.”

Graham remains hugely thankful for the education that he received at Sunderland and believes it has been crucial to the successes he’s enjoyed during his career.

“I never actually took up a position related to my science degree,” he explained. “But, I did - and still do - value it immensely for the purity of it showing that I had a bit of intellect between my ears. 

“My work history’s been an eclectic mix and you could say that I have made myself number one in a field of one. But, way back down the line, I am convinced that Sunderland had a large part to play in where I am now.”

The culmination of Graham’s work came in 2005 when he was named Inland Waterways Personality of the Year, putting him alongside the likes of David Suchet, Timothy West and John Craven. Graham now resides in the serene peacefulness of the Welsh Borders, but still returns to his West Midlands roots for work, where he has become something of a celebrity.

“I am a Black Country man by extraction but am now resident on the Welsh borders where I live in virtual anonymity.

“But I travel to my beloved Black country on a regular basis for business where, somewhat embarrassingly, I am routinely recognised or asked for my autograph,” he admits.

For Graham, his degree was a remarkable achievement coming from a working class background with little money during his childhood. His advice for anyone thinking of going to University is to go for it and give your all for the sheer satisfaction of being able to say that you have done it in later life.

He advised: “Forget the career prospects, the advancement in life, the money, the fame or whatever. Just go and do it for the sheer satisfaction that when you get to my age, forty-odd year down the line, you can look back and say ‘yep’.”

Graham still feels indebted to the start the University of Sunderland gave him to his career and firmly believes that anyone who chooses to study here will have the same rewarding, satisfying and life altering experience he did.

He concluded: “If I can encourage others to spend a brilliant few years at the University of Sunderland, then so much the better. It certainly had a profound influence on my life and one I still remember with deep affection to this very day.”

You can visit Graham's website at www.grahamfisher.co.uk

Article written by Matthew Shevlin, University of Sunderland Journalism graduate.  

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