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Age is just a number - 71-year-old graduates from City College Norwich

PUBLISHED: 18:01 20 October 2018 | UPDATED: 10:25 21 October 2018

City College Norwich Students at graduation 2018

City College Norwich Students at graduation 2018

Archant

A pensioner has proved that aged is just a number by graduating with a degree.

Lilian Taylor, 71, from Hingham, graduated from City College Norwich with a 2:1 bachelors English degree.

She says she is one of the many women of her generation who faced a “glass ceiling” if they were not fortunate enough to secure a grammar school place.

Missing out on this gateway to better educational opportunities saw Ms Taylor educated in a secondary modern in Leicestershire, before completing a two-year secretarial course at Loughborough College.

She said: “I think it’s [the course] been absolutely first-class.

City College Norwich Students at graduation 2018City College Norwich Students at graduation 2018

“Although I was old enough to be mother or even grandmother to some of my fellow students, both students and staff treated me as just another student.

“The small class sizes, with lots of support, provided an environment that suited me well.”

After spending time at home with her two children, Ms Taylor worked in various secretarial roles.

She went on to work for the Ergonomics Society where she served for 22 years as the society’s membership secretary, until her retirement.

City College Norwich Students at graduation 2018City College Norwich Students at graduation 2018

She studied for four GCSEs whilst in her 40s, and an A-Level when she was 50. Following her retirement, she moved to Hingham to be closer to her sister.

The higher education student of the year added: “Lifelong learning is one of the most important things you can do in life.

“There is always something that everybody can learn, something we all should strive for.

“On the degree course, we had a particularly diverse group, with students in their 20s, 30s, 40s, one about 50, and me.

City College Norwich Students at graduation 2018City College Norwich Students at graduation 2018

“We all became very good friends, one of the students I keep in touch with is 22. I’m almost 72 - that says it all really.”

Her dissertation was on ‘Railways in 19th Century Literature and Culture’, which looked at the huge cultural and sociological changes that were brought about to all classes of people by the development of steam railway travel.

Now that she has graduated, Lilian continues to seek out opportunities to learn as well as volunteer reading helper with the charity Beanstalk, which trains volunteers to provide one-to-one literacy support in primary schools.

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