Ex-Comet news girl awarded honour

FORMER Comet reporter Dianne Berry who went on to become a university professor was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List.

She received it for services to scientific research.

Dianne’s surname was Broadfield and she lived in Shephall Way, Stevenage when she joined the Comet as a trainee reporter in 1972.

Her mother, Jean, still lives in the town in Lapwing Rise.

“I loved my time working on the Comet and it taught me many useful life skills,” said Dianne who has two grown up children.

She left the paper in 1979 to take a psychology degree at what was then Hatfield Polytechnic.

Graduating from there with a first class degree, she then went to Oxford where she received her doctorate and stayed on as a researcher and lecturer in psychology.

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Dianne moved to Reading University in 1990 and became a professor there in 1997. She was head of its psychology department for five years, then became dean of social sciences and then pro-vice-chancellor for research for seven years before taking up her current position of director of postgraduate studies and researcher development.

Dianne is a member of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) research and innovation strategic advisory committee. She also chairs the Funding Council’s REF equality & diversity panel.

Of her OBE, she said: “I am absolutely delighted with the award, and feel very honoured that my contributions have been recognised in this way. I am very grateful to the many people in the university who have supported me over the years.”

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