23rd July 2002




Leven student Yvonne Fell has managed to complete a part-time degree at the University of Lincoln despite an amazing catalogue of tragedies and crises over the past twelve months.


Her uncle – a single parent with three children – died aged 41, her father had to have a triple heart bypass operation aged 47, her grandfather suffered a stroke, a serious fall and a blood clot on his brain and her husband (a full-time student) was rushed to hospital three times with complications arising from Crohn’s Disease.


To cap it all Yvonne was involved in a car accident in February and now has back injuries as a result. But none of these unfortunate incidents could distract her from her studies – even though she has to work every weekend to run a market stall to make ends meet.


“I’ve been studying a part-time BA (Hons) in Administrative Management for six years and I can’t believe I’ve finished at last,” said Yvonne (26), of High Stile in Leven. “I never thought about giving up - we just chuckled and said things can only get better!”


Yvonne’s catalogue of bad luck started four years ago when her father suffered a heart attack and had to undergo triple heart bypass surgery. Soon afterwards her husband Andrew was admitted to hospital when his Crohn’s Disease flared up and had two operations in the same year to treat a heart condition.


“To make matters worse I thought I was going to be made redundant this year so I decided to sign up for extra units on my course as I thought I would have more time to study. But as it turned out I got a promotion at the university so I’ve ended up with an even heavier workload.


“My uncle died of a heart attack in October, which was a complete shock to everyone, and the rest of the family rallied round to look after his three children.


“In December, the day before our fourth wedding anniversary, my husband Andrew was rushed into hospital when his Crohn’s Disease flared up again. Then my grandad went up to the loft to get the Christmas things down, had a stroke and fell out of the roof.


“Andrew has had two emergency operations in seven months and he’s now going to have to re-take his sixth year as an Architecture student at the Hull School of Architecture.


“Trying to cope with looking after them all was really difficult. I was in tears doing one of my assignments but at the end of the day you’ve got to get things done. At least now I’ve got the ceremony to look forward to, and the day after it’s my birthday, so things are looking up!”


Barring any mishaps Yvonne will be at Hull City Hall to graduate from the University of Lincoln at 11.30am on Wednesday 31st July.


For more information contact: Jez Ashberry, Press and Media Relations Manager

University of Lincoln (tel: 01522 886042)     email: jashberry@lincoln.ac.uk