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More than a degree of success for Betty

PUBLISHED: 20:14 20 December 2002 | UPDATED: 13:14 03 March 2010

BETTY Tindall is a brainbox pensioner who has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of 82.

Plucky Betty got up at 6am every day and spent three hard hours at the books from the time she started her degree course at the ripe old age of 78.

BETTY Tindall is a brainbox pensioner who has graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree at the age of 82.

Plucky Betty got up at 6am every day and spent three hard hours at the books from the time she started her degree course at the ripe old age of 78.

And now she is reaping the rewards for her hard work as she glories in her Open University degree.

Cradling a glass of Champagne at a special award ceremony, Betty said: "It was a lot of hard work.

"I was determined never to give up. I persevered and this is the pay-off.

"When my husband died, that encouraged me to carry on learning – it was something to aim for."

Betty should have been in Ely last summer to collect her Bachelor of Arts degree from former Speaker of the House of Commons Betty Boothroyd.

But she fell ill and was unable to make the ceremony. So family and friends gathered at Ipswich's Marlborough Hotel for the special occasion.

Betty's course ranged from discussions of Rousseau's philosophy to playing a cross-dressing Colonel Pickering in an adaptation of Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion.

But it was always literature that inspired the former primary school teacher, who now lives in Thornbank Residential home in Westerfield Road.

She said: "I loved Shakespeare, but my favourite work was Middlemarch. It was wonderful."

Son Steve, 52, travelled from London to join the party. He said: "I'm very proud of her.

"I thought it was a very good idea to go to university as she never had the chance when she was younger.

"She was very self-motivated and did it all her way. My dad would have been very proud of her if he'd been here to see it."

Steve was joined by brother Adrian and Betty's sister Pat to see Roger Mills, eastern England university director, present the award.

He said: "Betty shows that age is no barrier to learning and we hope that many other students will be inspired by her story to follow suit."

Factfile

The OU was launched in 1969 and is now Britain's biggest university with more than 200,000 students.

Almost 80 per cent of students work full time while completing their degrees.

Betty falls 12 years short of the oldest ever graduate, but is a whopping 65 years older than the youngest.

The OU offers more than 360 undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Students spend an average of six years doing an OU degree at an average cost of £4,100.

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