BOB Murray paid tribute to hundreds of hard-working youngsters at a learning awards ceremony.
The ex-Sunderland AFC boss and chair of trustees at the Foundation of Light, the club’s official charity, welcomed family learners to the Stadium of Light for in a special graduation to celebrate their achievements.
More than 750 children and adults who have taken part in the Family Learning Through Football programme attended the event, which also featured games and activities.
“This is a very exciting time for all of them,” said Sir Bob.
“These are inspirational individuals who I admire immensely. We’re so proud of them.”
Earlier this year, the Foundations’ Family Learning team won a top award, taking the Learning Where You Are category of the Adult Learners’ Week awards.
“Everyone involved works very, very hard,” said Sir Bob.
“The awards that we have handed out at the ceremony are a real tribute to that.”
The Sir Bob Murray CBE Family Graduation Day was attended by families from across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham.
Run by the Foundation of Light, the scheme is a 10-week programme run in primary schools.
The scheme uses the power of football to engage people in activities that inspire learning and achievement, develop and build new skills and improve relationships within the family.
In 2011, the programme worked with more than 1,500 families across the region.
Pupils from Hetton Primary took part in the courses with their parents.
Mum-of-two Becky Lambton, 31, a parent helper at the school, said: “We have 13 children from the school here.
“They’ve done really well and loved every minute of it.”
Mum Liz Cummings, 59, from Hetton, completed the programme with granddaughter Evie Lightfoot, seven.
“We got a lot out of it,” said Liz. “It’s good to be able to do these kind of things with your family.
“To spend time with them and enjoy these activities.”
SAFC fan Kirsty Mills was in the audience with eight-year-old son Dominic.
“We took part in a course last year and it was a great experience,” said the 37-year-old, from South Shields.
“We both really enjoyed it and it was fantastic to be here for the ceremony.”