ONE of the region’s leading philanthropists has spoken of his joy after being awarded an honorary degree.

Bishop Auckland investment banker and art collector Jonathan Ruffer, who is behind the popular open-air spectacular Kynren and The Auckland Project, received his degree from Durham University during its winter congregations.

Mr Ruffer, a fellow of the unversity’s St John’s College, said: “It’s a great day for me. It’s a marvellous thing to be part of the family.” Also receiving honorary degrees were Chris Terrill, an Emmy-award winning filmmaker and anthropologist Wendy Shepherd.