Great gran gets degree - 60 years after studies!

Sidmouth pensioner Margaret’s surprise at University of Surrey award

A GREAT gran from Sidmouth has landed a university degree - 60 years after completing her studies.

Surprised pensioner Margaret Griffin, 81, got a blast from the past when she received a letter saying she is to be handed the honorary award.

Deans Mead resident Margaret studied institutional management at Battersea Polytechnic, now the University of Surrey, from 1947 to 1951 and left with a qualification and a certificate.

Now, six decades later, the University of Surrey is handing out honorary degrees to students who graduated from Battersea as part of its 120th anniversary celebrations.

“I had no idea as a 22-year-old back then that I’d be getting an honorary degree in another century,” said Margaret.

“This came completely out of the blue. It just shows you never know what’s round the corner.

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“When I saw the letter I roared with laughter. I though it was crazy - when you think I was there in 1947 and now we’re in 2011.

“It’s very nice they are awarding me this. My daughter has a degree, and now so do I.”

Margaret, who worked as an assistant catering officer at London’s St Thomas Hospital, lived in the capital throughout World War Two and used to travel to Battersea by tram.

She will be awarded her degree at Guildford Cathedral at a ceremony on November 2.

“My family think it’s super. After all those years, you don’t expect to get something like this,” said Margaret, who will be joined on the day by her two daughters.

Margaret was taught a spectrum of skills ranging from bookkeeping and accountancy to dress making and first aid in her time at Battersea Poly.

“What I learnt was never wasted,” she said. “Some of the youngsters today could do with it. That seems like ancient England now.”