AN endurance swimmer who braved waters as cold as minus 1.7C to raise awareness of melting polar ice caps is to be recognised with an honorary degree.

Lewis Pugh, who swam across the North Pole in 2007 to highlight the environmental crisis the area is facing, will receive the honour from the University of Stirling next week.

Pugh has dedicated his life to raising awareness of environmental plights facing ecosystems across the planet.

In 2018, he became the first person to swim the length of the English Channel from Land’s End to Dover in a call for the protection of UK waters.

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He completed his first long-distance swim from Robben Island to Cape Town in South Africa when he was only 10 years old.

He will join other “inspirational” figures behind honoured by the university next Wednesday and Thursday.

One such figure is Lynda Okroj from Scottish Women’s Aid who is being recognised for her work in supporting women and children who have experienced domestic abuse.

Paralympic gold medallist David Smith, who was born with two club feet and has played shinty as well as practising karate and athletics, is also being honoured.

It was his switch to adaptive rowing which saw him clinch gold at the London 2012 Paralympics.

Principal and vice-chancellor of the University of Stirling Professor Sir Gerry McCormac said: “Summer graduation is always a highlight in the university calendar – but this fortnight of events has been incredibly special as we’ve been able to celebrate three cohorts of students, including graduates from 2020 and 2021.

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“We’re looking forward to welcoming our 2022 graduands to campus next week and are delighted they will be joined by four outstanding individuals who are making a real difference to the world in their respective fields and are excellent, inspirational role models for our students and graduates.

“Congratulations to all of those graduating over this two-week period.”