18th July 2003




Mature student Jean Old overcame her disability to achieve a first-class degree and a special prize for distinguished performance at the University of Lincoln.


Later this month she will graduate at Lincoln Cathedral watched by her son David, who himself will graduate at Southampton Institute in the autumn.


Jean (53), who lives in The Mead in Lincoln, gained first-class honours in Social Policy despite having to cope with an injured back which means she walks with a stick and sometimes has to use a wheelchair.


She also earned the Dean’s Prize for Distinguished Performance in Social Policy.


“I’m in pain all the time but the course was good for me – it gave me a reason to get out of bed in the morning,” she said.


“The easy option would have been to stay at home and do nothing, but most disabled people aren’t like that – our bodies might not work properly but we’ve all got a brain that works.”


In the past Jean has worked in finance for several major companies, and she says her training at one financial services company helped prepare her for a return to study.


“I found it easier that I had expected,” she admits. “People of my age said they didn’t know how I managed it, but at the Prudential we were always taking training courses and I had to take three professional financial exams, so I’m used to it.


“I also had help from both the disability support department and my fellow students. The university takes a very proactive stance in the area of disability and I hope my experience may encourage other disabled people to return to education as I did.


“My fellow students carried my bags, took notes for me and made sure I was OK.  On a day to day basis I could not have managed without them.”


Jean is now actively looking for a new career and hopes to be able to secure a job as a housing officer in the Lincoln area. She will graduate at Lincoln Cathedral at 7.30pm on Tuesday 29th July 2003.


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

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

Check for the latest university news at www.lincoln.ac.uk/news