Veteran journalist Victoria Derbyshire was overcome with emotion as she received an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) this week.

The UCLan alumna, who graduated from a one-year postgraduate diploma in broadcast journalism course in 1991, back when UCLan was still Preston Polytechnic, took to the graduation stage in Preston yesterday (Tuesday).

Victoria, 54, who has been a journalist at the BBC for her whole career, said: “It’s a massive privilege, I can’t believe it.

“Never in a million years did I think I would be standing here before you 30 or so years later accepting this special award.

"My career started at this place and I’m very proud of that! I’m really humbled by it and really grateful.

“I want to thank all the students graduating here today for letting me be a part of one of the most significant days of your lives.

"Congratulations on your achievements - what you have achieved in the last few years while here at the University of Central Lancashire is truly the start of what I hope will be, for each and every one of you, fulfilling and incredible and happy life.”

Born in Ramsbottom, Victoria grew up in Rochdale and attended Bury Grammar School For Girls.

She began her career on BBC local radio, before joining BBC Radio 5 Live in 1998.

She remained at 5 Live for 16 years, while also working in television news and political programming at the BBC.

Victoria’s television career has seen her conceive and present the eponymous Victoria Derbyshire current affairs programme on BBC Two; and more recently, take on presenting BBC’s Newsnight. 

She has covered some of the world’s biggest news stories, from 9/11 and the Paris Concorde crash, to general elections and the London Olympics, as well as the Grenfell Tower fire and the Manchester Arena bombing.

She now also co-hosts the critically acclaimed Ukrainecast podcast, covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

She also powerfully documented her diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, making a series of video diaries to help raise awareness of the disease and encourage people to check for symptoms.

She told graduates: “This is just the beginning, go out there and fly and have the best time you can have.

"That doesn’t mean not working hard, trying really hard, all those things are really important but life is short, so you’ve really got to grab every second.”