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Honorary Doctorate for Bridge Clerk

The Chief Executive of Rochester Bridge Trust has been recognised with an honorary doctorate.

Chartered civil engineer Sue Threader received a Doctor of Science award from the University of West London’s School of Computing and Technology on Wednesday, 22 July, during a graduation ceremony at Wembley Stadium.

The award recognises Mrs Threader’s work to inspire the next generation of civil engineers through a range of initiatives such as school visits and bridge building competitions. This includes having written a book, Learning about Bridges, which is supported by a website and children’s mascot, Langdon the Lion.

She is also taking a leading role with the Institution of Civil Engineers to raise the profile of historical engineering in Kent and acts as a mentor to a number of students and undergraduates who are preparing for careers in civil engineering.

Mrs Threader said: “This country faces significant infrastructure challenges over the next few decades, and it is vital we attract the best talent to join the civil engineering profession to help address these issues. This award is an honour for me but also honours the profession, and I am sure it will contribute greatly to my work to promote civil engineering as a rewarding career, particularly to young people.”

The University of West London’s eight schools each awards an honorary degree, with contributions to civic and cultural life among the selection criteria. Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter John explained that Mrs Threader was chosen because her “professional profile and experience make her a role model for the university’s students”.

Nearly all of the university’s graduates go into employment or further education within six months, and guaranteed work placements are part of the institution’s provision.

Mrs Threader, who originally graduated from the University of Sheffield with a BEng in civil and structural engineering in 1988, added: “I feel most privileged to receive this award from a university which places such emphasis on preparing its students for their future careers.”

See to find out more about the engineering education initiatives implemented by Mrs Threader.


Crossing the Medway from medieval times to the modern day:

1. The Rochester Bridge Trust was founded in 1399 and is the only surviving independent bridge trust that still serves its original purpose. The Trust owns and maintains the road and service bridges over the Medway at Rochester and has contributed to the cost of many other Medway crossings over the centuries. It makes charitable grants and supports other charitable and educational projects in Kent.

2. The Trust’s income derives from 14th- and 15th-century endowments, and assets are carefully managed to provide funds for bridge maintenance and future replacement as well as charitable activities. It provides its services entirely free to the public. The Trust receives no external funding and is regulated by the Charity Commission.

Supporting Engineering Education:

1. Langdon the Lion is a friendly character who guides children through the Trust’s free Key Stage 2-level education packs.

2. Comprising 12 lesson plans for educators, the books and associated website encourage youngsters to get involved with bridge building, trying out different techniques and thinking about the engineering challenges involved.

3. Langdon was chosen as a mascot because of the lion statues on Rochester Old Bridge, while his name was taken from Langdon Manor Farm, one of the original properties bequeathed to the Trust.

For more information:

The Rochester Bridge Trust
5 Esplanade
Kent ME1 1QE
Tel: 01634 846706

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