Shropshire Star

'Inspirational' woman receives honorary doctorate for role in meat industry

Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, Margaret Boanas has received an honorary doctorate from Harper Adams University.

Past Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers, Margaret Boanas has received an Honorary Doctorate from Harper Adams University

Margaret was the third woman to become a Master of the Worshipful Company of Butchers - an ancient trade guild.

Having worked in the meat industry since 1974, her position as a woman in a male-dominated field was noted at the inaugural Harper Together staff conference.

Margaret currently serves as chairman of the International Meat Association, and is a former vice president of the European Meat Trade Association with responsibility for International Trade, and a member of the new Government Food and Drink Export Council, which was set up earlier this year by the Department of International Trade (DIT) and DEFRA.

Harper Adams Professor Jude Capper highlighted how inspirational Margaret has been in changing perceptions in her industry and described hwe as "a truly inspirational friend and colleague, with an illustrious career within the meat industry".

She said: “Admittedly, life wasn’t always easy in the meat industry in the 1970s. Margaret would often walk into a meat plant with a male colleague and staff would inevitably talk to the man, assuming he was in charge until he said: ‘No, it’s her you need to speak to.’

“This would have been intimidating for some, but Margaret has always been at the forefront of changing attitudes, being an amazing example of how women in the meat industry can succeed and earn the respect and admiration of their colleagues and customers.”

Margaret became a Liveryman in the Worshipful Company of Butchers in 1997, and in 2021 was the third woman to become a Master.

Professor Capper added: “I should note that the support offered by Margaret and the Worshipful Company to Harper Adams has been invaluable, with five Masters of Research posts currently funded at the university through initiatives which began while Margaret was Master, including one relating to her nominated charity, Farms For City Children.

“As a fellow Liveryman of the Worshipful Company I can vouch for her excellence, but it’s not simply my opinion - another liveryman recently commented that Margaret was a truly great Master, not least because of her humanity and commitment to the industry.

“Margaret will say that she is only here because of the immense support and mentoring she’s had from people in the industry – I would argue that she has paid this forward a hundred times over.

"She is a brilliant example to women of all skillsets and ages - throughout her career she has mentored and actively encouraged countless other women to achieve and fulfil their potential.”

Speaking after receiving her honorary doctorate, Margaret said: "It was wonderful to take part in such a great event and to meet so many members of the Harper Adams community during the day.

“My great thanks to Professor Ken Sloan as vice-chancellor, and others who were involved in deciding to honour me in this way, and I am looking forward to engaging with Harper Adams in the future.”

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