YOU are never too old to learn something new.
And one 70-year-old decided to head back to school to secure a qualification denied to her as a child.
In the week that Margaret Gawler turned 70, she also sat her mock GCSE English exam at Kingston Maurward College.
She said: “Every week it takes me over an hour to drive to my lesson – even longer when it’s pouring with rain.
“ But I think it’s important to keep your brain active, whatever age you are.”
And keeping her brain active is something Mrs Gawler is clearly keen to do.
When Mrs Gawler first left school at 15 she said she wanted to go to college and study hairdressing.
However, Mrs Gawler said she was told by her parents that she needed to get a job.
So, it wasn’t until she was in her late sixties that she finally realised her dream and achieved her Level Two qualification in hairdressing, whilst still working full-time in an office.
Mrs Gawler, from Gillingham, said: “I really enjoyed the studying. So, when I saw that I could do my English GCSE for free, I thought, why not. It’s really interesting - we’re learning all about 19th century literature – and I’ve just read Little Women, which I loved.
“I’m also doing lots of creative writing, which I found quite hard at first.
“When I didn’t write about the sounds and smells of a foggy night, my teacher told me that I should, but I explained that in my story all the car windows were closed.
“’Well, open a window,’ she said. And since then, my creative writing has really taken off.
“I’ll be taking my exams in June and hope to get a four or five in the new marking system.”
She added: “I’ve seen that studying really helps show you what you are capable of, and what you have the potential to achieve, as long as you are prepared to put in the effort. Hopefully I’ll still be studying, attending keep fit and doing all the other things I do every week when I’m eighty.”
Kingston Maurward College will be starting new evening classes in GCSE English and Maths in September 2017.
The courses are free if you don’t currently hold an English or Maths O Level or GCSE.