7th August 2006




Former bus driver Steve Harris and his partner Sharon Dunks from Lincoln are both about to start their second year at the University of Lincoln after a family tragedy inspired them to make the life-changing decision to go back to education.


Steve (36) whose has five children from a previous marriage and Sharon (36) who had two children from her previous relationship decided to do a degree following the death of Sharon’s daughter.


In 2004 Lizzie aged nine was diagnosed with leukaemia and tragically died a year later after losing her battle with the disease. According to Steve her death was a life-changing experience for the whole family.


“We’d spent a year nursing Lizzie and then trying to come to terms with her death which was a tough time especially for Sharon and her sister Becky,” said Steve. “Having witnessed how quickly life can be taken away Sharon and I decided to do something we really wanted to do instead of what we thought we should be doing.


“We had a look at through the University of Lincoln’s prospectus to see what courses were on offer. It was very late in the UCAS application process so we were advised to go through Clearing.


“We’re both 36 and didn’t have the standard entry qualifications so it was quite a nerve wracking experience. We were so desperate to get our lives back in order and it felt like a lifetime between making the initial phone call and being offered a place. However the whole process only took about five weeks.


“I am now studying for a degree in Conservation Biology (Animal Behaviour) whilst Sharon is studying Contemporary Decorative Crafts. Going to university is the best decision we’ve ever made. I never thought I was clever enough to go to university but at 36 my ambition has finally become a reality.”


For a step by step guide to the clearing process please visit the University of Lincoln website (http://www.lincoln.ac.uk/home/clearing/index.htm) or come along to one of our clearing open days on 19th and 22nd August from 10am till 3pm.


For more information contact:

Kate Strawson Press Officer

(01522) 886244 kstrawson@lincoln.ac.uk

Visit our news web pages: www.lincoln.ac.uk/news/latestnews.htm