King’s Lynn’s flying winger Ryan Hawkins is top of the class!
- Credit: Archant
King's Lynn Town's flying winger Ryan Hawkins swapped boots and his number 11 shirt for a gown at his graduation ceremony at Easton and Otley College.
The 22-year-old – originally from Mattishall – started on a level two course and has progressed to a level six qualification, recently completing an honours degree in sports coaching.
As a youngster he was released by Norwich City, but has subsequently gone on to play semi-professionally for Dereham and St Neots. He had trials last year with Peterborough United before a bad injury stopped him in his tracks.
But having fully recovered, he is now back playing alongside Canaries legend Grant Holt as the Linnets target promotion from the Southern League.
He joined Lynn last November when then Linnets boss Gary Setchell got his man at the third time of asking.
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This season, Hawkins has been an ever-present in the league for manager Ian Culverhouse, with 14 starts, as well as two in the FA Cup – he has scored four league goals and one in the cup.
'I found the college experience very good,' said Hawkins. 'I'm playing football at a decent level and now I've got a degree.
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'Every member of staff helped me along the way. You have to work hard, but if you work hard you can achieve anything in life.'
Hawkins still has hopes of playing football at the highest level he possibly can, and at some point would like to become a teacher.
'I've now got something to fall back on,' he added.
Dan Connelly, from the college's football academy, said: 'I'm so proud of Ryan. He has been a great ambassador for the college and a real credit to himself.
'He is playing football at a very good standard and now has a degree in his back pocket. As an academy and a college we have helped someone get to the highest level they can educationally whilst helping them fulfil their football ambitions. I'm sure we will have many more successes like this in the future.'
Also during the graduation ceremony, Ryan received a special progress award for his educational achievements whilst at the college.