A Baroness who has campaigned tirelessly for victims’ rights since her husband was murdered has joined the University of Bolton.

Baroness Helen Newlove has been appointed Pro-Vice Chancellor and says she has been “incredibly impressed” by the “family feeling” throughout the university.

She said: “There is incredible diversity here, along with an inclusive approach which I really like. It is clear that the University of Bolton is like a family. The teaching staff are amazing and are absolutely passionate about helping the students here to learn.”

She added: “I am very honoured to have the title of Pro-Vice Chancellor of this university.

“It is lovely to have the opportunity to promote such a wonderful institution and engage with students, learn about their stories and make as many people as aware as possible about what a great place this is.

“Bolton has a lot to offer.”

Baroness Newlove was thrust into the public eye in 2007 in the most horrific circumstances when her husband Garry, aged 47, was beaten to death outside their home in Warrington by a gang of youths who had been drinking under-age.

Three teenagers were convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment in February 2008.

In 2010, she was given a peerage and took up her seat in the House of Lords as a Conservative in July, when she was introduced as Baroness Newlove of Warrington in the County of Cheshire.

She said: “I never expected to be in the House of Lords and when I got the call, my girls said I just had to do it.

“At first it was really intimidating. Here was a girl who went to St Pat’s High School, left school with two O levels and worked at a chip shop and a greengrocer’s and I was suddenly part of this other world after my life had been turned upside down.

“Baroness (Trish) Morris, who is on the board of the University of Bolton, was my mentor in the Lords and was incredibly supportive and kind to me.

“I have also been involved in the good work that Bolton Lads and Girls Club does and so Bolton has been a large part of my life

“To be here at the university now in this role is wonderful. I am delighted." We need to celebrate the talented people of the north of England. I am passionate about boosting the Northern Powerhouse and an institution like the University of Bolton is absolutely key in helping with that.”

Baroness Newlove added: “It is telling that there are many students who were successful here who then come back and teach, which is fantastic for them and the current students.”

The University of Bolton was named number one in Greater Manchester for Student Satisfaction in the 2019 National Student Survey for the third year in a row and Baroness Newlove believes that is vitally important.

“Student satisfaction is key to me – it is crucial. We have to inspire young people and knowing that they are enjoying studying here at Bolton and being cared for and encouraged is wonderful.

“People of all ages are welcomed and catered for here and there is a real family feeling.

“Everyone deserves the chance to succeed and better themselves and the University of Bolton is offering that opportunity,” she said.

Baroness Newlove was appointed Victims’ Commissioner of England and Wales in 2012, a role she held until May 31 this year and one she says she was “extremely proud” to carry out.

Since stepping down she has vowed to continue to fight against anti-social behaviour, campaign for more rights for the victims of crime and push for tougher sentences for those criminals who destroy other people’s lives.

She has also been appointed as a patron for the organisation Resolve and as part of her new role will help to raise awareness of anti-social behaviour and push for government action to protect victims and communities.

Baroness Newlove, who has three grown-up children – Zoe, aged 30, Danielle, 27 and Amy, 24, has also suffered from the debilitating condition fibromyalgia for many years.

Although she takes medication to manage its effects, it is a disease that can completely shut your body down and some days it takes its toll more severely than others.

She says: “It takes me a long time to get going in the morning, which is why I get up so early, but I love what I do and I refuse to mope. You just have to get on with it.”