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Spice Girl Mel B awarded doctorate for work with abuse survivors – and plans to mark ceremony with trademark gown

SPICE Girl Mel B is to be awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of her work for ­survivors of domestic abuse.

Leeds Beckett University will present her with the accolade at a ceremony later this month.

Mel B is to be awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of her work for ­survivors of domestic abuse
Olivia West
Mel hopes to attend the ceremony in a graduation gown lined in her trademark leopard print[/caption]
Alamy
Leeds Beckett University will present her with the accolade at a ceremony later this month[/caption]

And Mel, 49, who is the patron of charity Women’s Aid, hopes to attend the ceremony in a graduation gown lined in her trademark leopard print.

In addition to the honorary degree, Mel — who fled her abusive marriage to Stephen Belafonte in 2016 — has also been studying towards a qualification in trauma care.

She said: “I completed a couple in Trauma Informed Care at Leeds Beckett earlier this year. When I was told I was being given the doctorate it was an incredible honour.

“But I wanted to earn something too.

“Since leaving my marriage I’ve told friends and family I’d love to go to uni, but I don’t think people took it seriously.

“But this gave me an opportunity to actually do it.”

Melanie expects some of her Spice Girls pals to attend the ceremony.

She said: “I didn’t tell them I was studying so I think they were surprised. I didn’t even tell my mum.”

Mel attended lectures for three months, with many students not realising who she was.

She said: “I loved the camaraderie in the class. It never came up who I was, apart from at the end.

“One of the guys came up to me and said, ‘I thought it was you, but I couldn’t believe it — I thought it was just someone who looked like you’.

“I’ve played at Wembley Stadium with the Spice Girls, but I felt more nervous walking into that classroom on the first day. Everyone in the class seemed so intelligent.”

Mum-of-three Mel became an advocate for domestic abuse survivors and patron of Women’s Aid after fleeing her marriage to US film producer Belafonte, 49, and moving back to Leeds.

She said: “I always understood abuse on an emotional level and could speak from the heart, but now I have the theory, knowledge and terminology. I want to do more.”

Leeds Beckett Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Slee said: “I would like to congratulate Melanie Brown MBE on this Honorary Degree.

“As a child of this city who reached the top of her industry, then used her platform to advocate for those who shared her hardships, Melanie is exactly the type of citizen we are here to champion.”

Mel meeting King Charles – then the Prince of Wales – along with her fellow Spice Girls in 1997
Getty Images - Getty

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