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Shelf stacker turns award winning First Class graduate

Ged HodgsonGed Hodgson

A mature postgraduate student, who left school at 15,  is graduating from Bangor University this week.

Ged Hodgson, 43, from Llanfairfechan, who is graduating with an MA in English, said: “Having achieved a 1st class honours in my BA and MA at Bangor, I am proud to be graduating for the second time. I am especially happy to see so many of the staff and friends who helped make my time at Bangor so enjoyable.

“Having left school at 15, I was filling shelves on the nightshift at a local Tesco supermarket before going to college and then applying to study English at Bangor. I completed a part-time Access to Higher Education course and took my GCSEs at Llandrillo College. I enjoyed studying so much that my wife, Sarah, decided to do the same Access course. We applied to go to Bangor at the same time but chose different courses, with her doing a Masters of Environmental Science course.

“I suffer from chronic tendonitis in my right arm, which is one of the reasons I decided to return to education as a mature student, nearly 25 years after leaving school. I realised I would soon be unable to do manual labour and would have to learn to use my mind more than my hands. Bangor helped me cope with my disability by. For example, providing computer and recording equipment to reduce the amount of notes I had to make in lectures. During my time at Bangor, I have felt fully supported and am grateful for the University’s help in making my studies as pain-free as possible.”

About Bangor, Ged added: “When I attended an Open Day the lecturers were so welcoming and inspiring that, for the first time, I believed going to University was something I could really do. When I applied, I was lucky enough to be awarded a Merit Scholarship, which guaranteed my place and made a real difference when I gave up work.

“Apart from being awarded a Danby memorial prize for being one of the best students in the School of English in my final year as an undergraduate, I was able to work with The Muse Bookshop in Bangor as part of the Access to Masters (ATM) Scholarship that made my MA English possible. This involved carrying out a case study of how students consume texts at a time when so many people read Kindles or download articles. It was an ambitious project but I received all the support I could wish for and found managing a large research project very rewarding.

About the future, Ged added: “I have been awarded a fully funded PhD scholarship by De Montfort University, Leicester, and am studying Nineteenth Century Biographies and Autobiographies, written by Charles Knight. I hope this will lead to my gaining employment as a researcher/ lecturer. This would be testament to the difference Llandrillo College and Bangor University have made to my life, by helping me progress from shelf filling to hopefully gaining a Doctorate.”

Watch our video interview with Ged on BangorTV.

Publication date: 12 July 2013