Love of books ends in degree

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Going back to study was a no brainer for Irene Flack after illness forced her to stop working.

The mum-of-two and grandmother used to work with people with learning difficulties but after five years suffered an attack and a breakdown.

Faced with the prospect of sitting at home all day watching daytime TV and living on benefits, Irene decided to take her love of books to a higher level and do an English degree.

She said: “I applied to uni not thinking I would get in but to find out what I needed to get in and got an unconditional offer.

“ That was four years ago. I had done the odd night class in foreign languages etc but never thought I would do anything like this. I always presumed you left school and that was your chance.”

Irene, who lives in Clayton Brook , near Chorley, received help from a support worker and also discovered she suffered from dyspraxia.

She said: “I managed better than I thought I would but I met some very good friends who supported me.”

Despite the bad days when she didn’t think she would be able to carry on, she persevered and even re-sat one year to make sure she made the grade - and got herelf a job in the Students’ Union.

Irene, who has two daughters, said that the official diagnosis of her condition came as a shock,.

She said: “Going back to study was a bit of a shock at first and I nearly walked out of my first lecture thinking I couldn’t do it, but I think I had to work that bit harder to catch up on how things are done now.

“I was already quite conversant with computers but having to learn about how to do all the formatting etc was a bit of a challenge for me.

“I think I appreciated it a bit more, having never gone to university.”

Her daughters Michelle and Stephanie, who has two young sons, were proud of her first class degree.

At 57 Irene is now going back to university to do a Masters and setting up her tuition business.