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James Nesbitt is University of Ulster's new chancellor

Actor James Nesbitt has been confirmed as the new chancellor of the University of Ulster.

The star of Cold Feet and Bloody Sunday will fill an ambassadorial role and officiate at graduations.

Mr Nesbitt said he wanted to help ensure the Government was aware of the importance of higher education.

“I live and breathe Northern Ireland, particularly the north west, and I hope that, through the fortunate accident of my fame, students will be able to relate to their chancellor and think they have some sort of relationship with him — not shrouded in academia but something they can relate to,” he said.

The 45-year-old father-of-two succeeds former London lord mayor Sir Richard Nichols in representing the Northern Ireland institution at home and abroad.

Chair of the university's ruling council Gerry Mallon said: “We're delighted James, a former student at the university and an honorary graduate, has agreed to take on this very important role.”

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