A CARTOONIST and writer from Keighley has been honoured for his work.

Darryl Cunningham has received an honorary Master of Arts degree.

The accolade is just the second of its kind awarded by Leeds Arts University.

Mr Cunningham said it was “a huge privilege” to be given the degree, which was presented during a graduation ceremony at Leeds Town Hall yesterday.

“I’m especially proud as I was a student at the university – between 1980 and 1983 when it was then known as Jacob Kramer College,” he said.

“The university has long played a vital role in shaping the lives and careers of many people in the creative arts.

“With a number of new courses starting next year, including a degree in comic and concept art, the university will continue to offer life-changing opportunities to tomorrow’s creatives.”

Mr Cunningham was born and brought-up in Keighley and worked in mental health for many years.

The experience helped shape his first graphic work, Psychiatric Tales, a book aimed at exploding myths surrounding the issue.

He followed that up in 2012 with Science Tales, a series of graphic essays on controversial science subjects ranging from climate change to gas fracking.

In 2015, Mr Cunningham worked with the Bill And Melinda Gates Foundation’s Art of Saving a Life project.

He was among 30 world-renowned photographers, painters, sculptors, writers, filmmakers and musicians who took part to raise awareness globally of the urgent need to reach all children with lifesaving vaccines.

Mr Cunningham’s other work includes Supercrash: How To Hijack The Global Economy, about the long rise of neo-liberal politics in the Western world.

It includes a biography of the novelist and political thinker, Ayn Rand, providing an overview of her influence on modern politics and a detailed breakdown of the causes of the 2008 financial crisis.

His latest book, Graphic Science, examines the lives and work of seven scientists spanning two centuries and looks at fields as varied as geology and astronomy. Subjects include Nikola Tesla, Fred Hoyle and Mary Anning.

Professor Simone Wonnacott, vice-chancellor of Leeds Arts University, said the honorary degree was hugely well deserved.

She added: “Darryl has produced much award-winning and thought-provoking work over many years using comic and graphic arts, so it gives me great pleasure to award him only our second honorary Master of Arts degree. Although the University has changed much since Darryl’s time it is alumni such as him who continue to inspire our students by showing them what is possible through talent, commitment and hard work.”