A DISTINGUISHED sociologist has been honoured by a North-East university.

Professor Huw Beynon, an industrial sociologist of international standing, was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Letters by Durham University today (Friday, January 11).

Prof Beynon was presented with the honour by Durham University Vice-Chancellor Prof Chris Higgins in a ceremony in Durham Cathedral.

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Prof Beynon joined Durham University in 1977 and, over the tumultuous next ten years, researched the mining trade unions and villages.

During that time he became a strong critic of the Conservative government’s policy of pit closures.

He said: “The 12 years I spent in Durham were amongst the most memorable in my life.

“Obviously it is a great honour to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University.

“It is also very significant for me that the University has recognised the importance of academics working closely with local people and communities, particularly during these times of great upheaval and change.

“My strongest memories are of the warmth and generosity of the people I met as part of my research in the towns and villages across Durham and on Tyneside.”

Also honoured today was Graham Johnson, a world-leading pianist and accompanist.