It took me 35 years to finish my degree but look at me now

‘I chose to study Spanish because of my other main interest, flamenco guitar’

Britain’s “slowest” student has finally finished his degree — 35 years after he started.

Determined Ray Reddick, 67, has spent more than half of his life studying Economics and Spanish, and is thrilled after completing enough modules and grades to finish.

Ray, of Shoreham, West Sussex graduated at a ceremony in Brighton last weekend, after finishing the degree he began in 1980 — but at such a low level he did not even qualify for a numbered grade.

The retired salesman and Royal Artillery gunner reckons life just got in the way of his epic degree as he put it on hold until he quit work in 2009.

The Open University grad said: “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.

“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.”

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Ray when he started his degree, 1980

He stopped just 60 points short of his degree in 1986, but instead of quitting, he took study leave — which lasted for 23 years.

In 2009 he picked up his books again when he retired and added Spanish to his basic level degree — 60 points below an Honours academic award.

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He 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.

“I cannot praise the Open University highly enough for giving everyone the opportunity to fulfil their potential and discover how exciting learning can be.”

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