North East television presenter Pam Royle was a very proud parent this week as she watched her daughter graduate on the very same stage she herself stood on two years ago when she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Sunderland.
But rather than following in her mum’s media footsteps, as a news presenter on ITV Tyne Tees, Philippa Walker turned to the law and became a solicitor.
And this week, the University of Sunderland student added another string to her legal bow, after successfully completing a PCGE in Post Compulsory Education and Training, graduating with honours at the Stadium of Light, alongside thousands of others.
Pam, who received an Honorary Fellowship in 2015 in recognition of her contribution to news and current affairs broadcasting in the North East, watched from a prime position on stage, alongside the procession of specially invited University guests, as Philippa collected her degree certificate.
Philippa said: “It was very strange having my mum up there on stage, but also a lovely feeling as I’m very proud of her.”
Pam added: “I was so very proud of Philippa today and for all that she has achieved.
“It was a big decision for her to go back into education once you’ve been out there in the working world, but she was just so focused on what she wanted to do and I always say ‘if it’s something that you really want to do, you should just make it happen’.
“It was also wonderful to be back at the Sunderland graduation ceremonies, I love coming here. The ceremonies here are just so exciting, and informal in a comfortable way, you feel relaxed, even though you know you’re coming up to collect your degree. I can remember all those years ago, when I was student and even a few years ago when I received my Honorary Fellowship how nerve wracking it can be. But everyone here today has done incredibly well to achieve their degrees.”
Philippa, who has returned to her profession as a solicitor says the additional teaching qualification will prove valuable to her career in many ways.
She said: “Law firms see this as a beneficial qualification for me to have in so far as training others in the profession. It will be valuable in many ways to me; even in practice I may do things additionally with training in universities and colleges.
“I chose the course at Sunderland as it seemed the best place to study and the quality of the teaching staff and support that was given to me from the outset, at interview stage and even before that, was invaluable. It just seemed like the right place, get all the help that you needed.”