HE’S the children’s show presenter-turnednewsreader who has been a popular face on the screens of Hampshire televisions for decades.

But next week Daily Echo columnist Fred Dinenage will swap the Meridian Tonight sofa for the stage at Southampton Guildhall when he picks up an honorary degree from Southampton Solent University.

The veteran broadcaster is one of ten professionals and academics being honoured by the university at its annual graduation ceremonies.

Fred will line up with some of the nearly 2,600 students receiving their degrees during ten ceremonies being held throughout the week.

Others to be recognised for their achievements will be the multi award-winning film director, writer and producer Sir Alan Parker; Lindsey Fraser, the Southampton-based Team GB diving coach; and former Buggles, Yes and Art of Noise star Trevor Horn.

They all join a host of famous names to pick up honorary degrees from Solent in recent years, including Dannii Minogue, Southampton-born singer Craig David and Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills, as well as Saints legends and Daily Echo columnists Lawrie McMenemy and Terry Paine.

Fred, who was awarded the MBE in 2010 for his services to broadcasting, is being given the honorary degree of Doctor of Media by Solent University for his “outstanding accomplishments in broadcasting and dedication to the media industry”.

During a career spanning six decades, he has gone from a junior reporter on the Birmingham Mail to a permanent fixture on ITV’s local news.

He was familiar to generations as the presenter of How, ITV’s longest-running children’s show, as well as its successor, How 2, which ran until 2006.

Solent will also be handing out honorary degrees to TV producer and comedy writer, John Lloyd; Aston Martin chief executive officer Dr Ulrich Bez; anthropologist Ted Polhemus; boss of shipping firm NYK Europe Svein Steimler; Unilever’s marketing chief Keith Weed; and Richard Welsh, head of film company Technicolor.

Solent’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Van Gore, said the ceremonies are important for reflecting on the impressive efforts of everyone at the university.

He said: “The graduation ceremonies are the highlight of the university’s year, when we celebrate the achievements of our students and our staff.

“The academic excellence and ‘real world’ skills secured at Solent University are crucial to the individual and to future economic growth.”