One of Dorset's most beloved celebrity residents has been named as chancellor for a university that specialises in farming orientated qualifications.

Hartpury University and Hartpury College, in Gloucestershire have appointed Doc Martin star Martin Clunes to serve as the honorary head of both specialist educational institutions, representing Hartpury in a ceremonial and ambassadorial capacity.

The university and college offers specialist undergraduate and postgraduate degrees and diplomas in agriculture, animal, business, equine, sport and veterinary nursing, as well as A-levels and T Levels. 

The famed actor and presenter was appointed Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Dorset in 2019, and he and his family run a 130-acre farm near Beaminster.

The farm is home to horses, cows, sheep, chickens, dogs and cats which make him so well-suited to his new role.

As well as presenting documentaries focussed on animals, conservation and the relationships between humans and animals, Mr Clunes is president of the British Horse Society, a patron of the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre, the Horse Course, Julia’s House Children’s Hospice and the Fortune Centre.

Speaking about the appointment, Mr Clunes said: “I’m deeply honoured to be appointed as the inaugural chancellor of Hartpury University and Hartpury College.

"I look forward to sharing many of my passions and interests with like-minded students, staff, governors and alumni and am excited to share in their numerous success stories.

“I also look forward to advocating for the university and college’s many impressive achievements, helping to champion and support Hartpury at an exciting time in its 75-year history.”

Professor Andy Collop, vice-chancellor, principal and CEO of Hartpury University and Hartpury College said: “We are delighted that Martin will become our first chancellor and look forward to him playing a pivotal supporting role in the growth and evolution of Hartpury University and Hartpury College.

“Martin’s commitment and experience in the equestrian, agricultural, animal and countryside realms align particularly well to Hartpury’s own values and specialisms. I have no doubt that he’ll contribute to Hartpury’s rich heritage and help to inspire staff and students alike”. 

Mr Clunes will take up the post as chancellor in the summer.