Spice Girl Geri Halliwell-Horner collects doctorate from Sheffield Hallam University

Geri Halliwell-Horner described Sheffield as having "the biggest heart" as she collected an honorary doctorate in the city.

The former Spice Girls member, 50, was at Sheffield Hallam University to receive an award recognising her work promoting and championing children, young people and women’s rights.

The singer said: "I absolutely love this city - I think Sheffield has got the biggest heart and it's really warm. Sheffield Hallam University is inclusive, it's diverse, it's really encouraging, so it's a really inspiring place."

The honour comes after Halliwell-Horner, who became famous as "Ginger Spice" in the all-girl pop band, visited the university to learn about an initiative which aims to raise the aspirations of children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

She met women’s rights expert Dr Suni Toor, whose award-winning work has helped to transform the support for female victims of violence in India.

"I'm still learning," she told ITV News. "I have a very curious mind. I really believe in education, I believe education is power.

"It's an absolute honour to be here today. I love learning, I love literacy, I love the power of the word and education."

Halliwell-Horner shot to fame as Ginger Spice in the Spice Girls. Credit: Fiona Hanson/PA Archive

University vice chancellor Prof Sir Chris Husbands said he hoped the award would inspire students and raise the university's profile.

He said: "We're delighted to build a relationship with Geri. We're always looking for partners who amplify the impact of the university and to take our story to new places.

"Everybody recognises Geri. However, since her pop career she has done some fantastic stuff on children's literacy, she's a United Nations goodwill ambassador. There's lots in this story we can relate to."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know.