Hundreds of proud parents and family members packed Carlisle Cathedral to cheer on their loved ones as they officially became graduates.

Yesterday’s University of Cumbria graduation ceremony, held against the splendid backdrop of the medieval cathedral, saw hundreds of final year students in healthcare sciences, education and nursing take to the podium as students and step down as graduates.

Attended by a host of Cumbrian dignitaries led by the mayor of Allerdale, Hilary Harrington, the audience was addressed by the university’s vice chancellor Professor Julie Mennell.

She spoke passionately about how valued the new graduates will be to the communities they join, whether in Cumbria or further afield.

“Your importance will reach hundreds, possibly thousands of people throughout your careers,” she said in her speech at the start of the ceremony.

“But remember that there is more to life than your career. Work to live, don’t live to work.

“And always remember how fabulous you all are.”

Professor Mennell added that yesterday’s graduation ceremony, which took place in three waves throughout the day, was an opportunity for the students to look back fondly on the undergraduate life they were leaving behind.

“Today is a chance to pause and reflect on the skills you have learned, the confidence you have gained, and the friends you have made here,” she said.

Many of the new graduates spent time yesterday catching up with friends they had not seen for a long time, their final term having ended in May.

One graduate doing so was 21-year-old Sarah Taylor, who has just completed a degree in sports rehabilitation.

“Today was lovely, I haven’t seen my friends for a while so it was nice for us all to be back together,” said Sarah, originally from Garstang in Lancashire.

“I was based at the Lancaster campus, but I’m going to start my two year masters in physiotherapy at the Carlisle campus in September.

“I’m looking forward to it, but I’m also eager to get it done so I can get out there into the world of work.”

She said the day had a note of sadness because it marked the close of a truly enjoyable time.

“I’d say it’s been the best three years in terms of education for me, and in terms of the friendships I’ve made,” she said.

“So it’s the end of something that I will miss, but it’s been fantastic.”

Students graduating from the department of business, law, policing and social sciences will be attending their ceremony today alongside those graduating from the department of health, psychology and social studies.

Thursday’s ceremony will be for those graduating from the institute of the arts, the institute for business, industry and leadership, and the department of science, natural resources and outdoor studies.