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A builder, a baker, and a Birkbeck alumnus

Birkbeck alumnus Richard Burr competed in The Great British Bake Off final

Birkbeck alumnus Richard Burr last night had the nation glued to their television screens as he competed in the final of BBC1’s The Great British Bake Off.

Richard, who graduated with a first-class undergraduate degree in biodiversity and conservation, proved that his skills extend well beyond academia by being named ‘star baker’ a record five times during the latest series. His creations throughout the series, including rhubarb and custard zeppole and a pesto pinwheel, impressed the judges and had viewers dreaming of doughnuts. However, in the grand finale, Richard missed out on taking the crown, which was awarded to ‘queen of consistency’ Nancy Birtwhistle.

Burr is the fourth generation to work in his family’s building business, and in several media interviews he has explained that after a full day on the building site he would come home and practise bakes for the show. Perhaps four years of coming to Birkbeck for classes in the evening meant that he was well prepared for dedicating himself to new challenges after a full-day at work.

Dr David Havill, Lecturer in Biology at Birkbeck’s School of Science, taught Richard. He said: “Many congratulations to Richard for yet another brilliant achievement! It was impressive enough that he was able to get First Class Honours in Biodiversity and Conservation at Birkbeck while working full-time as a builder and helping to look after a new baby daughter. However, reaching The Great British Bake Off final surely takes the biscuit?”