AN inspirational mother has been recognised for her work to tackle prejudice and intolerance after her daughter was murdered.

Sylvia Lancaster, chief executive of the Sophie Lancaster Foundation, set up in her daughter's memory, has received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bolton.

Bacup teenager Sophie Lancaster was murdered in 2007 when she was kicked to death just for being dressed as a goth. Since then, Mrs Lancaster has worked tirelessly to challenge prejudice and intolerance. She was awarded the OBE in 2014 for her work in tackling hate crime.

Yesterday, Mrs Lancaster became a Doctor of the University for her outstanding contribution to education.

She said: "I would like to say how honoured I am to receive a doctorate from the University of Bolton.

"It is just unbelievable what we have achieved, and the work we have done in education.

"It is fantastic to see the change we are making. I would never ever have thought we could change things in the way we have.

"I would like to say to the graduates today that you are the people who can change things.

"You can take your views, your morals, your values, into whichever profession you go into, you can make a difference."

The Sophie Lancaster Foundation exists to create a lasting legacy to Sophie, to provide educational resources to challenge prejudice and intolerance to others, and to campaign for UK hate crime legislation to be extended to include people from alternative subcultures.

The foundation's work saw Bolton Council extend their definition of hate crimes to include lifestyle and dress-code following Sophie’s death.

Mrs Lancaster said: "I think the impact we are having, particularly around social media, is massive.

"We are constantly being told we are making a difference. People from alternative subcultures are feeling much safer when they are out and about."

She added: "If Sophie were here, I think she would be very proud."