Tyne & Wear

Emeli Sande awards university degrees to own parents

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Media captionEmeli Sande presents Sunderland University degrees to her parents

Emeli Sande has awarded degrees to her own parents on her first duty as chancellor of the University of Sunderland.

The singer-songwriter's parents met while studying at the then-polytechnic and her birth in 1987 meant they had to miss their graduation ceremonies.

They later moved away to Scotland, but returned for the graduation ceremony at the Stadium of Light.

Ms Sande said it was a "very special day" for her family.

She said: "My dad is very happy that he finally has a picture of himself in a robe."

The family moved to Aberdeenshire when she was four, and she went on to study at the University of Glasgow.

Ms Sander wrote her first song at the age of 11 but was thrust into the spotlight in 2012 when her debut album, Our Version of Events, spent 10 weeks at number one and broke a chart record set by The Beatles.

Image caption Emeli Sande said she wanted to "break down barriers to education"

Ms Sande said: "Both of my parents were the first in their family to study for a degree. Education for them, as for so many people, was life changing.

"I am thankful for so many things and so many people, but my greatest thanks go to my mum and dad who made sure my sister and I knew the importance of having access to education.

"I know that not everyone has that support network, I don't take it for granted.

"I want to use my time as chancellor to break down barriers to education, to ensure that people see their worth and that they aspire to reach their potential."

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