Broadcaster and newspaper journalist Kevin Maguire has praised his South Shields upbringing as he returned to the North East to pick up a top university honour.
The TV pundit, who has a glittering journalism career spanning 30 years, was made an Honorary Doctorate of Arts at the University of Sunderland this week and talked about his time growing up in South Tyneside and the chances education has given him on a trip to Littlehaven Beach before the ceremony.
The former Harton School pupil, 57, was one of six children to dad John, who worked at Westoe pit, and mum Jennie, a cleaner and biscuit factory worker.
"The beach is where I spend all my school holidays. I grew up here. My dad worked down the pit, my mam was a cleaner. We didn't have money to go on holiday so I used to always be down here getting sand in chip butties and getting burnt," he said.
"South Shields is a great town. I love it. Back then it was heavy industry, ship building and coal mining, whereas now the cultural scene has really taken off."
Kevin is associate editor of, and political columnist at, the Mirror. He previously served as chief reporter at The Guardian and was labour correspondent for The Daily Telegraph.
He is also a regular on television and radio including Good Morning Britain and Sky News, and used to host his own programme on talk radio station LBC 97.3.
Kevin is also a visiting professor at the University of Sunderland, an institution for which he is full of praise. He he really enjoys working with students - and thinks everyone should have the chance to get a university education.
He studied politics at the University of York before a one-year journalism postgraduate diploma at Cardiff University, and admitted he saw university as a way of putting off going into a job - but soon learned its benefits.
"I was one of six kids and I was the only one to go to university. I went off town to York, the first one in my family to do that. I didn't really know much about what university, just that it was something other people from school were doing - and I thought I'd give that a go," he said.