A FORMER news editor with the Gazette and the Stroud News and Journal has achieved a first class honours degree at the age of 75.

Carole Taylor, who now lives in Gloucester, has graduated with a BA in Religion, Philosophy and Ethics from the University of Gloucestershire.

She now hopes to start a Masters in September.

Carole, who has four children and 12 grandchildren, left school at 16 with three GCEs to take an apprenticeship as a trainee reporter with the Worthing Gazette in West Sussex.

She moved to Stroud with her husband in 1967 and worked as a reporter and sub-editor on numerous Gloucestershire newspapers, eventually retiring in 2011 after 50 years in journalism.

She said: “I always wished I had gone to university, but I thought my lack of qualifications made it impossible.

“However, after retiring, I decided to give it a try.

“I was inspired by my youngest son James, who became a mature student and trained as a teacher.

“To my surprise, lack of qualifications such as A Levels was not a barrier for an ‘extra mature’ student like me, and I started my studies at the University of Gloucestershire in 2016.

“Having been out of education for so long, I started off on a part-time basis, but as my confidence grew, I changed to full-time study. It was a wonderful experience.”

Carole said that her first year at UoG’s Francis Close Hall was difficult and she felt very intimated by young students with brilliant A Levels.

“But my course tutors were wonderful, very supportive, and I soon got into the swing of things. Age, I discovered, made no difference, and I was treated just the same as every other student, which was very reassuring.”

Carole’s son James said: “I am extremely proud of my mum, she has worked so hard to achieve this.

“I think her achievement shows that anyone can learn new things at any point in their life.

“She is a brilliant example.”

Carole added that she hoped her positive experience would encourage other ‘more mature women’ to go to university.