Sidmouth's Marjorie, 103, receives honorary degree
PUBLISHED: 14:23 15 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:16 20 September 2017
The retired teacher has been recognised by the University of Roehampton in a special ceremony, 80 years after completing her training.
A 103-year-old retired teacher from Sidmouth has become the oldest recipient of an honorary degree, more than 80 years after completing her training.
Marjorie Hodnett dressed in ceremonial gowns and mortar board as she was presented with a certificate from the University of Roehampton today (Friday).
Former students who completed certificates before 1980 are now being recognised as part of the university’s anniversary celebrations.
Dr Christopher Stephens, head of Southlands College, said it was a privilege to present Marjorie with the honorary Bachelors of Education degree.
He said: “This is really exceptional and a truly wonderful event.
“We are incredibly touched and feel very privileged to be here doing this.”
The Abbeyfield Court resident attended Southlands Methodist teacher training college for two years from 1932.
As part of her training Marjorie chose to specialise in Geography and French, moving to Sidbury to work at All Saint’s Primary School in 1956.
At a special ceremony she told friends and family, “It is a great honour to have this. I am rather amused at the whole business, living this long isn’t difficult because I have centenarians on both sides of the family so its in the blood.
“Also I think the way I have lived has helped quite a lot because I take the motto from Sidbury WI, look forward with hope, not backwards with regrets and any opportunity that comes along, take it. You never know what you can do until you try.”
Before the event, staff from the university showed her photographs which had been uncovered by the college’s archivist Stuart Brenner.
Marjorie said: “It’s very interesting, seeing them brings back a lot of old memories of the place and the people that were there. “It was one of the better jobs to go into teaching. Teachers were respected and it was better paid job than most that were available to girls at that time.”
Gilly King, history and heritage advisor at the university, said: “It’s extraordinary because we have actually presented over 6,000 honorary awards and Marjorie is the oldest.
“She left college in 1934 so she can tell us things about college we don’t know. It’s really important our archives are part of our history and even today she has identified things for me and it’s just wonderful to meet her.”