A CATHEDRAL organist felt right at home as he picked up an honorary degree.

James Lancelot, organist and master of the choristers at Durham Cathedral, was awarded an honorary doctorate of music by Durham University in a ceremony held in the Cathedral today (Thursday, July 3).

Mr Lancelot is one of Britain’s best organists and has been at Durham Cathedral since 1985.

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He was instrumental in the introduction of girl choristers in 2009 and is president of the Incorporated Association of Organists.

Speaking in advance of today’s (Thursday, July 3) ceremony, he said: “My family and I were all surprised and delighted when the news came through, although I have to say that becoming Dr Lancelot will take a bit of getting used to.

“This award I hope will help to reinforce the links between the Cathedral and the University, especially their two musical departments and it is a great honour for me to be chosen to receive it.

“Of course, I know the format of the ceremony well, because I’m normally sitting at the organ playing for the graduands (CORR) rather than sitting in the congregation.

“I have done it once before when my daughter was awarded her MA (Master of Arts) from Durham. It was wonderful then and I’m really looking forward to the ceremony again.”

Thousands of students are graduating from Durham University this week. Other honorary degree recipients include former councillor Bob Young and wine pioneers Tony and Barbara Laithwaite.