GREAT Britain’s most successful gymnast Max Whitlock thanked the University of Essex for the “massive honour” in being awarded him an honorary degree.

Max, who holds 19 major medals and is a double Olympic champion, received his degree during the graduation ceremony for more than 400 students from the university’s School of Sport, Rehabilitation and Exercise Sciences.

After the ceremony Max thanked the university for acknowledging his achievements.

“It was an honour to be in there at the ceremony to share with the graduates their special day as they received their degrees,” he said.

“They have worked hard to receive their degrees and, for me, to be in there and see so many emotional parents, the atmosphere was just amazing.”