Fran Kirby received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Winchester on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old England international received the Doctor of Science Honoris Causa from the university chancellor Alan Titchmarsh MBE at Winchester Cathedral, alongside more than 2,000 graduating students.She was recognised for her achievements both on and off the field, in particular her work supporting mental health and wellbeing.Upon receiving the honour Kirby said: ‘It was an huge honour to receive this Honorary Doctorate from the University of Winchester, I was so shocked when I received the letter saying that I would be honoured at their graduation.

(Photo credit: Dominic Parkes Photography)

‘To get this in recognition of my opening up and honesty with regards to mental health, and continuing the conversation around this subject makes me feel so proud to receive this.

‘Thank you so much to the University of Winchester, it was an absolutely beautiful ceremony and one I won’t forget.’Speaking at the ceremony Titchmarsh said: ‘There is a printed banner outside the King Alfred Centre on campus which boldly encourages our students to ‘Dream Big, Give Back’. I think I speak for everyone when I say, Fran Kirby embodies this phrase, and the University’s values, perfectly and is an inspirational female role model to all.’

Kirby and her Chelsea team-mates' next home game takes place on Sunday 17 November, with 2pm kick-off against league debutants Manchester United. Tickets are on sale and priced at £1 for juniors (aged under 20) and seniors (aged over 65) and £9 for adults.

Click to buy your tickets