A SINGLE mum from Farnborough is glad she stepped into the world of adult education, for she has won a month-long all expenses paid study trip.
Cheryl Hughes, 37, of Holywell Close, entered a National Institute of Adult Continuing Education “Sign Up Now” competition.
Cheryl began her studies by taking part in the pilot of Farnborough Grange Infant School’s Learning Together initiative — a scheme where parents can study alongside their children.
Now, as well as working and looking after her three daughters, Cheryl is studying for a degree in English and looking forward to learning Italian at the British Institute of Florence in Italy.
She said: “My timetable is very full at the moment. I’m working part time and I’ve started a beginners’ course in Italian as well as trying to prepare for the institute.
“It’s progressing very slowly, so I’m hoping staying at the institute will help that.”
Despite all the work, Cheryl intends to get in some sightseeing and trace her family history.
Cheryl said: “My grandfather came from a small town near Florence. I’ve always wanted to go there.
“There’s so much to do and see as well as the studying. I’m hoping to be able to come back knowing I can have basic conversations in Italian.”
The British Institute of Florence also provides courses in Italian Culture, art history, Tuscan cooking, life drawing and even wine and food appreciation.
Spokeswoman Tracy Bray said: “Our wine appreciation classes proved to be a real hit with our patron, the Prince of Wales, when he visited us in November. He asked for a copy of the class notes.”
She added: “Many of our students are over 60, thus proving it really is never too late to learn.
NIACE is running another ‘Sign Up Now’ campaign until May 16.
Contact Jan Wright at NIACE on 0116 204 4224 for further information.
n Farnborough mother of two Eileen Kean has also been celebrating.
Eileen, 38, of Chavasse Way, was returning to her studies after a break of 20 years.
She was presented with her award by newsreader Fiona Bruce at the fourth Oxford, Cambridge and RSA Exam-inations, Recognising Achiev-ement Awards in London.
Eileen, who is married to serving soldier John, has two children, but managed to attend college for two days a week.
She said: “I am thrilled to receive this award. I spent most of the course as a single parent due to my husband’s absence on duty, but I was determined to have the patience and commitment to complete my studies and provide a balanced lifestyle for my children.”
Eileen was nominated for the award by tutors without her knowledge.
She said: “It was a lovely surprise. The tutors nominated me and I didn’t know about it. Then, once I knew, I had to write a bit about why I thought I deserved it. That was difficult but I had a lot of help. Obviously, I didn’t think anything would of it.”
Eileen, now a medical secretary at Frimley Park Hospital, said completing the course has given her self-confidence a huge boost.
She said: “It was very scary because of going into a classroom situation for the first time in 20 years, and also because it’s a room filled with strangers. I thought I would be far behind everyone else but everyone had different strengths that they brought with them."