MALDON’S record-breaking cyclist Alex Dowsett has been awarded an honorary degree.

British, Commonwealth and European cycling time trial champion Dowsett received the award of Honorary Doctor of Health Science from Professor Iain Martin, Vice Chancellor of Anglia Ruskin University, during a ceremony at Chelmsford Cathedral yesterday.

Dowsett, who attended Elm Green Preparatory School in Little Baddow, and King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, is the only able-bodied elite sportsperson in the world with haemophilia.

The 29-year-old was diagnosed aged 18 months with the inherited condition that affects the body’s ability to control blood clotting, which is used to stop bleeding.

In 2011 Dowsett won the first of a remarkable five British National Time Trial Championships – that’s two more than Sir Bradley Wiggins.

He said: “This award for me is massive. I finished school and finished by A Levels and never got the chance to go to university, because I was straight into full time cycling.

“On one hand it is great as it recognises I have committed hard to my sport and on top of that with how my life has panned out with my haemophilia a lot of my career is spent trying to inspire young haemophiliacs to prove what they can do with the condition because it is a very different time now to ten, 15 years ago and we can do a lot more.

“I think a lot of people are still scared to so this massive award today is a message to anyone with any kind of adversity or set back that you have to make the best of it.

“Sometimes we are dealt a bad hand and it is how you chose to live your life with that hand that really makes or breaks you.

“I have been very fortunate with things like the parents I have and the support I have but ultimately it was my stubborn attitude wanting to prove haemophilia wrong that has led to me being in here today, so I hope this goes on to inspire anyone to get out there, try something new, try anything, to make the best of what you have and live life to the full.”

Professor Martin said: “Alex has demonstrated the courage, commitment and personal sacrifice required to overcome challenges and succeed at the very highest level. He will be an inspirational role model for all our students - particularly for those studying Sports Science and Sports Coaching.

“We are delighted to welcome Alex Dowsett to our Anglia Ruskin community.”