Graduate's battle for degree of success

A GRADUATE, who underwent heart surgery during his final year, has today spoken about how he overcame his difficulties.Despite having a major operation in the first term of his third year, Stephen Garnham, of Church Walk, Stowmarket, went on to achieve a first class honours degree in business and accounting from Canterbury Christ Church University.

A GRADUATE, who underwent heart surgery during his final year, has today spoken about how he overcame his difficulties.

Despite having a major operation in the first term of his third year, Stephen Garnham, of Church Walk, Stowmarket, went on to achieve a first class honours degree in business and accounting from Canterbury Christ Church University.

The operation, which was the third one for the 25-year-old born with a congenital heart condition, had not been expected, so Mr Garnham was forced to keep his head in his books as he recovered at home, which he shares with his wife Laura.

Mr Garnham, who was a mature student and now works for Axa Insurance in Ipswich, said: “The operation [to put a stent in the heart to widen the aorta] came out of the blue as it has been deferred for a while. I knew there would be a bit of pressure as it was my final year.

“Fortunately I had done quite well in my second year but I still worked hard. Friends brought me work home and I was reading the books, hoping I was understanding it properly.

“It was an extremely intense time catching up and I was physically exhausted.”

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Although he had to take a full term off and began again at the start of the second term, he was still able to graduate with the 750 other students at Canterbury Cathedral on November 30.

Mr Garnham also received an award from Kent chartered accountants, Reeves and Neylan, for getting the highest grade in accounting.

He added: “It was hard getting back in to it when I started in January whereas everyone else was throwing themselves into their final two terms.

“To receive the award was not only a great honour, but also a huge surprise. I am delighted with the end result.”

Canterbury Christ Church University's pro-chancellor, the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Stephen Venner, and vice chancellor, Professor Michael Wright, congratulated the new graduates at the ceremony.

Have you overcome adversity to achieve something remarkable? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.

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