Community News

Local resident goes back to studying after 50 years

Sue Henley at her computer class at KWMC which gave her the confidence to study at university
Sue Henley at her computer class at KWMC which gave her the confidence to study at university

By Community Reporter Nuria Riquelme Palazon

A Knowle West resident has just completed an English course at Bristol University – almost 50 years after leaving school.

Pensioner Sue Henley (64) who left school at 15 is an example of how determination and hard work can help you achieve – and says it’s never too late to start learning again.

She found the courage to take this step after starting a Beginners’ Computer Class at Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) in her neighborhood.

Eighteen months ago she was in her doctor’s surgery and found out about the computer class – but was a bit worried about taking it up.

Sue, a retired hospital worker remembers: “In that moment I thought what I could get with this course … because I hadn’t done anything like that since school…But my husband told me `I think that you can do it’… I had a laptop but I couldn’t use it and it frightened me.”

Once she began the course she started to get to grips with the technology– with the support of her tutor Martin Hanstead.

Martin explains: “In these classes mostly we have beginners who have never used a computer before and we show people the basics.

“Many local people come to learn how to shop online, use the Internet and to communicate through online services like email or social media. And I have to say that Sue is one of my top students.”

The computer classes gave Sue the confidence to take another step forward – and apply for an English Literature course at Bristol University – which she finished successfully last June.

Sue says: “It was a part-time course of six months, mostly for mature students. The computing classes were really helpful because in the university you need the computer for everything.

“At the beginning I was scared with all the work and books that I had to read. But with the help of Martin and the other tutors I got it.”

Now she is thinking about doing a degree at the university and encourages everybody to take a chance as she did.

She says: “I was lucky to do this course. So if you want to prove something do it, nothing it is lost. If you don’t look you don´t know.”