A PENSIONER who left school at 15 has finally completed his degree, 35 years after he started.
Ray Reddick, 67, of Garland Point, Sussex Wharf, Shoreham Beach, graduated from The Open University at a ceremony in Brighton last Saturday.
After a career in the baking industry and time in the Army, Mr Reddick used his sales experience and love of Spain to help complete his BA Open (Economics and Spanish).
“I left school in 1962, aged 15, having failed my 11-plus, and did what most working class boys were expected to do, pursue a trade, which in my case was the baking industry,” he said.
“I suppose my original aim in studying with the Open University was to extend my knowledge and basically see if I could do it.
“But I then discovered economics when studying the foundation courses and found the subject really interesting, so decided to make economics the main focus of my degree.”
Mr Reddick left school at 15 to start a five-year apprenticeship as a baker but having qualified, his search for adventure led him to join the Royal Artillery as a gunner. He served in Malaysia in the late 1960s and then Northern Ireland in the early 1970s.
After leaving the Army in 1971 to get married, he became a bakery manager in Bedfordshire and East London before moving to Sussex in 1982, when he went into the sales side.
“In 1980, I started studying with the OU more out of a sense of curiosity about the world and to prove to myself that I could do it, rather than to pursue a clearly defined career path,” he explained.
Work and family pressures meant he stopped studying in 1986, 60 points short of his degree, and it was only when he retired in 2009 that he decided to complete it.
I suppose my original aim in studying with the Open University was to extend my knowledge and basically see if I could do itRay Reddick, 67
Mr Reddick said: “I chose to study Spanish because it fitted in nicely with my other main interest, which was playing classical and flamenco guitar. It was very useful when I went to Spain to study, which I have managed to do at least once a year since 2007. I started playing the guitar when I was 15 but stopped when I joined the Army and I didn’t resume playing until 2005.
“I cannot praise the OU highly enough for giving everyone the opportunity to fulfil their potential and discover how exciting learning can be.”