Swansea University has awarded an honorary degree to TV and radio journalist, broadcaster and healthcare campaigner, Beti George.

Ms George was presented with the honorary award today (20 July) during the degree ceremony for the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Born and raised in Coed-y-Bryn near Llandysul, Beti George started her career as a reporter with the BBC in Swansea in the early 1970s before becoming a news and current affairs along with music programmes presenter for S4C programmes in the 1980s.

Since 1987 she has presented the weekly BBC Radio Cymru show, Beti a’i Phobol (the Welsh counterpart of Desert Island Discs). She has also hosted the final night of the Cardiff Singer of the World competition at St David’s Hall, Cardiff for several years.

She is a campaigner for raising awareness of Alzheimer’s and care for dementia sufferers and is a significant advocate for those living with Alzheimer’s and their families.

In 2017, a documentary portraying her life with her partner, the late broadcaster David Parry-Jones, David and Beti: Lost for Words, received a gold award at the New York Film and Television Festival. Listed in the Wales Online 100 Welsh Women, Beti George received the Outstanding Contribution award at the Wales Media Awards in 2016, and in 2018 she was the recipient of the John Hefin Lifetime Achievement Award. Beti George became a member of the Gorsedd of the Bards at the National Eisteddfod in 1986.

On receiving her honorary award, Beti George said: “It is a great honour to be given recognition by Swansea University. And I'm sincerely grateful to the Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR) at Swansea University and especially to Vanessa Burholt, Professor of Gerontology at Swansea University, for taking on a specific piece of research which aims to make it easier to care for a loved one who has dementia in their own home. 

"When I was caring for my partner David (Parry-Jones) who had Alzheimer's, I didn't consider it a burden.  After he died in 2017, I decided to approach CADR to see whether somebody would be interested in researching (in)continence and dementia among people living in their own homes. Professor Vanessa Burholt was keen to take up the challenge, as hardly any research had been done on the issue.  It was teamwork, and I'll be forever grateful to all of them.

"By the way, my campaign to ensure that the Welsh language is at the heart of dementia care continues!”