The Mayor of Reading has received an honorary degree from the town’s university.

Councillor Tony Page, who has served on Reading Council as a Labour councillor since 1973 and is now the Mayor of Reading, was awarded the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters at the University of Reading at a ceremony on Thursday, July 20.

He became Mayor in celebration of 50 years of public service this May.

Cllr Page graduated from the University of Reading with a BA in Politics in 1975.

While still a student, he was elected as the youngest ever councillor in Reading to represent the now abolished Castle ward – a record he retains to this day.

The degree was given in part due to cllr Page’s focus on improving public transport throughout his career.

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Cllr Page was instrumental in establishing Readibus, the UK’s first dial-a-ride community transport service in the 1970s, which still serves the town today.

He was chair of Reading Buses from 1986 to 2005, and chair of Reading’s Transportation Committee from 1986-1990.

From July 2013 to May 2023, he was chair of the Berkshire Local Transport Board, which had responsibility for determining the priorities for transport investment across Berkshire.

He has also held numerous other roles focused on improving public transport for the community, particularly as lead councillor for strategic environment, planning and transport, and as deputy council leader from May 2008 to May 2023.

The university praised him for advocacy on environmental issues and seeking a reduction in the town’s carbon footprint in its quest for net zero emissions.

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At the doctorate ceremony, Professor Robert Van de Noort, vice-chancellor of the University of Reading, said: “Cllr Page has delivered exceptional public service to the town of Reading over the last 50 years.

“His many contributions to the town align closely with two of the pillars of our own University strategy: Community and Sustainability.

“He has played a key role in a number of projects that have sought to reinvigorate the town of Reading to make it a better place for people to live, and his efforts to improve public transport and reduce the town’s carbon footprint have been extremely successful.

“We are proud to award this honorary degree to Cllr Page, a former University of Reading student and now Mayor of Reading.”

Cllr Page himself said: “I am deeply touched to have been honoured by the University from which I graduated in 1975.

“The University plays an increasingly important role in the town and I look forward to working closely with them in further promoting our partnership working particularly around the climate change agenda.”