North East cricketer Paul Collingwood is receiving his honorary degree from the Northumbria University.
The 37-year-old posed for the cameras with his family in the sunshine before the ceremony.
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Sandiford, a former legal secretary originally from Redcar, was convicted of drug smuggling offences and sentenced to death in 2013.
Durham Crown Court heard that one of the male victims suffered a triple-fractured jaw, while left lying in the gutter, unconscious.