SURVIVAL expert Ray Mears and Chinese cooking legend Ken Hom are collecting honorary degrees from Oxford Brookes University this week.

Mr Mears, famed for surviving in some of the world's toughest terrains, is among eight people being honoured in the university's annual week-long graduation ceremony, which started on Friday.

Among them is zoologist and BBC television presenter Charlotte Uhlenbroek.

But it will be Mr Hom, born in Tucson, Arizona, where his Cantonese parents lived after emigrating to America in the 1930s, who feels right at home.

His Hot Wok series was a smash hit in UK and his personal collection of 2,000 food books is held in the library of Brookes' department for hospitality, leisure and tourism management.

And later this year he is to be made a founding patron of the university's Oxford Centre for Food Studies.

He said last night: "I am honoured and humbled by this award.

"I have always been very keen to get to know the students and talk to them about what inspires them, the way Chinese cookery inspired me.

"I want to share my passion and love of food and Chinese culture, especially with eager students.

"I hope this award will be helpful in this endeavour."

Other individuals being awarded honorary degrees are designer Chris Wilkinson, Richard Frost, pregnancy expert Miriam Stoppard, journalist Niall Dickson and the Government's chief scientific advisor Sir David King.

Brookes spokesman Kathryn Moore said: "The university awards honorary degrees to people who have accomplished outstanding achievements in their field of work."