FIGURES from the world of sport were honoured at the University of Bolton's final graduation ceremony of the year.

Honorary doctorates were presented to Tracey Neville, head coach of England's netball team, Phil Gartside, chairman of Bolton Wanderers Football Club and Anthony Griffin, one of Britain's most decorated paralympians.

They joined graduating students as they donned their gowns to receive the honour.

Former England netball player Miss Neville follows in the footsteps of celebrated footballer brother Gary to become the second member of her family to be recognised by the university for her achievements.

She was accompanied by her proud parents Jill and Neville Neville to pick up her honorary doctorate.

She said: “I’m really honoured and privileged to receive this doctorate and I’m really pleased to be sharing the day with the graduates who have also worked hard to get here as well. When I told Gary and Philip they believed it was an expectation just because of the work I’ve done coming up the ranks and also going from a player into education and coaching.

"We are such a proud family and for three of us who have been quite successful it is a dream to share it with the people that I love.”

Mr Griffin, who won 14 medals during his career, still holds a world record more than 25 years after setting it.

He said: "I am absolutely thrilled to this get honorary doctorate and be recognised in this way alongside people like Amir Khan,

"I am a Paralympian and he is an Olympian. It is a privilege to celebrate this with graduating students."

Both Mr Griffin and Miss Neville were recognised for their outstanding contribution to sport and charity.

Phil Gartside was honoured for outstanding contribution to the Bolton community, football and education.

Bolton Wanderers has opened a Free School, building on its reputation for educating young people and putting them on the path to success.

He said:"It was a surprise, a pleasant surprise to be asked to receive an honourary doctorate.

"I am not receiving it personally it is on behalf of all the staff who have put their heart into creating great experiences for the students and for the students who have worked so hard. It is fantastic and a privilege to be sharing in the celebrations with the graduating students."

Vice-Chancellor Professor George Holmes said: "This is my tenth year of enjoying the fabulous experience students gain from graduating after three years of hard work. And to share those days with great civic figures and great figures from the world of sport it makes you realise student life is great."