Leading lights from the ranks of education, politics, religion and business gathered in Hereford Cathedral today to celebrate the birth of Herefordshire's new university.

The inaugural service for the New Model in Technology and Engineering (NMiTE) included speeches, oaths of commitment, uplifting music, prayers and blessings led by the Very Reverend Michael Tavinor, Dean of Hereford.

It was followed by a drinks reception at the city's Left Bank functions venue.

The ceremony began with a procession into the cathedral of academics.

It was followed by a civic procession that included Sue Boulter, the mayor of Hereford; Jenny Bartlett, the mayor of Leominster; Harry Bramer, the mayor of Ross-on-Wye; Nina Shields, chairman of Ledbury Town Council, Suzette Brunsdon, deputy mayor of Bromyard, and Clare Davies, mayoress of Bromyard.

Other civic dignitaries included Brian Wilcox, the chairman of Herefordshire Council, and the county's MPs Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin. The High Sheriff, Nat Hone, also attended.

There was music from the choir of St Paul's Primary School, Tupsley, who sang music from Matilda the Musical; Cantabile, who sang Didn't It Rain and CarrickFergus, and Academia Musica, who sang Anthem.

The Right Reverend Richard Frith, Bishop of Hereford, gave the blessing.

The new university's academic staff were wearing striking new robes produced in partnership with the textile design BA students at Hereford College of the Arts, and advised by Kenneth Crawford of Robes of Distinction.

The academic hats featured a pin designed by John Sanders of the college's textile programme and forged by Quim Kamikaze, a degree student on the college's blacksmithing programme.

NMiTE is an initiative backed by the Government, educators (including the University of Warwick) and industry that aims to transform engineering education in Britain. It will become the first new UK university for 40 years.

Its backers say the project is crucial to Britain’s competitive future. Engineers are key to mastering major world challenges – from sustainable food production to cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and more.

The university says it will "create a new model of higher education for a new generation".