Adventurer honoured by Queen’s

By Stephen McVey

A n adventure athlete, rower, author, mo­tivational speaker and a previous recipient of Belfast Media Group’s Top 40 award, has been named among those honoured at Queen’s University.

Mark Pollock received a Doctorate on Wednesday 4 July for his services to the community. Suffering from the loss of his sight at 22 years of age and a paralyzing fall 13 years later, he has striven to great success and inspired audiences world­wide.

Speaking after receiving the honorary degree, Mark expressed how it felt to be recognised by Queen’s.

“It is a huge privilege to be honoured in this way. I am delighted to have the opportunity to come back to the school I attended and give something back.

“In my speech to the graduating students I told them that sometimes we choose challenges in life, but sometimes they find us. It is about how we respond to the challenge and what we do in the future that counts,” he said.

In 2008, Mark was honoured at the annual Belfast ‘Top 40 Under 40’ awards, hosted by Belfast Media Group.

Norma Sinte, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at Queen’s, delivered Mark Pollock’s citation.

“By Mark’s example he continues to give hope and determination to people he may never meet.  He has adopted as his own the motto of famous explorer Sir Edward Shackleton  – ‘by endurance we conquer’.  Mark Pollock is an inspiration to thousands who themselves are overcoming adversity. He is an athlete, adventurer, motivator, a man who knows no boundaries – and it is our privilege to honour him today,” she said.

For the last decade, Mark has competed in the harshest environments on the planet. In his determination to overcome the biggest of challenges, he has competed against professional explorers like Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Olympic gold medallists and special forces personnel.

Mark added that he was confident that Queen’s graduates too will be fit for whatever life throws at them.

“I’ve experienced some harsh conditions and the recent rain reminded me a bit of my 2010 round-Ireland yacht race. Hopefully the future for the 2012 graduates will be much brighter than the weather!”

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