Author Dame Jacqueline Wilson congratulates 98-year-old Ipswich graduate Freda Smith on honorary degree
PUBLISHED: 07:42 17 May 2017 | UPDATED: 09:53 17 May 2017
A 98-year-old former teacher from Ipswich donned a cap and gown to pick up an honorary degree for her achievements in education.
Freda Smith was awarded the accolade from the University of Roehampton during a special ceremony at London Southbank’s Royal Festival Hall on Monday.
Speaking before the event, Freda, who is understood to be one of Britain’s oldest graduates, said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to celebrate a degree like this at my age.”
The ex-headteacher of Sprites Infant School in Ipswich was pictured alongside celebrated children’s author and chancellor of the University of Roehampton, Dame Jacqueline Wilson.
The university handed out honorary degrees to more than 2,000 alumni who achieved a Certificate in Education, a teaching qualification which was awarded until 1981.
Freda, who taught for 44 years at schools across Ipswich, London and Sheffield, was unable to study for a traditional three-year degree because her parents could not afford to pay.
Vice chancellor Professor Paul O’Prey CBE said: “This event is about recognising the hard work and dedication of the women and men who have made significant contributions to education and teaching across the world.”
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