Emeli Sande is named Sunderland University's new chancellor, and there's a beautiful backstory with her parents

23 May 2019, 10:52 | Updated: 23 May 2019, 16:10

Emeli Sande and her parents
Emeli Sande and her parents. Picture: Getty/Instagram/Emeli Sande

By Tom Eames

Emeli Sande is a proud Sunderland star, and she has now been named as the new chancellor of the city's university.

The singer-songwriter will follow Olympic legend Steve Cram, who is stepping down after 11 years in the role.

Emeli's parents Joel and Diane met when they studied at the then-polytechnic, and her birth in 1987 also coincided with their graduation ceremony, which meant they couldn't attend.

At her first official ceremony as chancellor, Emeli will present her parents with the academic award.

The 'Clown' singer moved with her family to Aberdeenshire in Scotland when she was aged four, and studied at the University of Glasgow.

Emeli wrote her first song aged just 11, and became a huge success in 2012 when her debut album, Our Version of Events, spent 10 weeks at number one.

In 2017, she was given an MBE for her services to music.

Emeli said: "Education and music are both central to who I am and I believe that both have the power to change lives for the better.

"So I am delighted that I can combine my passions in this new role. I plan to use my time to help others see their worth, realise their potential and break down barriers, whether real or imagined."

Sunderland University's vice-chancellor, Sir David Bell, said: "Emeli breaks the mould when it comes to university chancellors. She is a committed advocate for social justice, gender equality and access to education [and] will be an outstanding role model for our students, graduates and staff."

The singer will be handed her new role at a ceremony on July 10.