IT was with a tear in his eye and a lump in his throat that one-quarter of one of the most famous rock bands on the planet returned to his hometown of Southampton.

Coldplay drummer Will Champion took time out of the award-winning band's hectic schedule to perform a heartfelt honour.

He was invited to Southampton University to officially open a new archaeology building, which holds special significance for his family.

The musician's late-mother Dr Sara Champion, who lost her battle with cancer in 2000, worked as a lecturer in the department with which she was associated for nearly 30 years.

The connection does not end there as his dad Tim still works in the department as a Professor of Archaeology.

A crowd of more than 100 people gathered at the opening of the new £2m Crawford Building at the university's Avenue Campus in Highfield.

Addressing the audience with a touching speech, Will, 28, said: "I will keep it brief because, as you know, drummers are not best known for their public speaking.

"The last time I was in this building, or I should say the old building, I was picking up a silver medal for a Southampton Schools under-15 trampolining competition. I am convinced it was a fix.

"I am very proud to be here on behalf of my family and my band.

"Growing up as the youngest son of two archaeologists, it is difficult to understate the impact the subject has had on my life, considering even my babysitters were archaeologists!"

The father of a five-month baby girl added that Champion family holidays invariably featured "obelisks, burial grounds and hill forts".

Will recalled working briefly for the university himself as "a penniless 18 year-old" when he assisted with a department relocation.

The avid Saints fan added: "The building seems to encapsulate lots of things my mum held very dear: art, archaeology, technology and people."

Becoming choked and glassy-eyed, he paused to clear his throat and regain his composure and concluded by saying: "It is a very fitting tribute to her and on behalf of everyone here, I can declare it officially open."

A seminar room within the new department has been named in honour of his mother.

Speaking to the Daily Echo, his father Professor Tim Champion, who has worked at the university for the best part of three decades, said: "It is a special day for the family and it is good that the school has invited Will, as somebody who grew up with two parents who were academic archaeologists who worked with the university for a long time, but did not become an archaeologist himself.

"He read anthropology at University College London which is an interest he gained from us but obviously a different career developed for him!"

The new three-storey archaeology department, which features state-of-the-art teaching laboratories, replaces a number of buildings that were spread across the campus.