All news

John Rainey Graduation- Wednesday 5 July

Queen’s Honours Northern Ireland Entrepreneurs John Rainey and John Agnew


John Rainey and John Agnew are receiving Honorary Degrees at Queen’s University Belfast today.

John Rainey, co-founder of the leading plastics manufacturing company the Denroy Group and entrepreneur John Agnew, Director of the Henderson Group, will be honoured by Queen’s University today (Wednesday 5 July).

Belfast-born John Rainey is Chairman, Managing Director and Co-founder of the Denroy Group, one of the UK’s leading plastics processors. Plastics manufactured by the Denroy Group have a wide-ranging use from aerospace, medical industries, defence and the world-renowned Denman hair brushes.

In 2014, John was awarded an MBE for outstanding contribution to economic development in Northern Ireland.

John set up the ‘Max Rainey Prize’ at Queen’s University in honour of his father, each year awarding £1000 and a Max Rainey Memorial Medal to Engineering undergraduates engaging in the development, manufacture or research of polymer products.

Upon receiving an Honorary Doctorate today for distinction to business and commerce, John said: “I am delighted to be receiving this honour from Queen’s. As a university with a global presence it still remains close to its roots, engaging with local communities, businesses and students.”

John Agnew Graduation- Wednesday 5 July

John Agnew, also born and raised in Belfast is being awarded an Honorary Doctorate for distinction to business and commerce.

From his beginnings as a young trainee, John soon rose to Chairman and is now Director of the Henderson Group, founded by his grandfather John Henderson in 1897. Now one of Northern Ireland’s most successful commercial enterprises, The Henderson Group own a number of franchises across Northern Ireland including Spar, Eurospar, Vivo and VivoXtra. The family business contributes hugely to the Northern Ireland economy employing over 3,000 people with a turnover of £699 million.

John has been recognised for his contribution to business and charity, appointed Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s 2013.

Speaking about his honorary doctorate, he says: “As a businessman, I have a great deal of respect for the role Queen’s plays in the Northern Ireland economy through fostering a skilled work-ready workforce to attracting global investment and as such. It is a true privilege to receive an Honorary Doctorate from this institution.”

More Graduation Stories

Media inquiries to Queen’s Communications Office. Tel: 028 90 97 3091 or email

More news and features

lungs, cancer, xray

Latest News

Queen’s Report Reveals More Than 50% Increase in Lung Cancer Cases among Women in Last Decade

15/09/2017 - New research from Queen’s University Belfast has unveiled the changing patterns of lung cancer, the most common cause of cancer death in women in Northern Ireland.