Wheelchair-bound student stands for first time in five years to receive his degree

‘I had done it. I prayed and said ‘thank you, thank you’’

After a car accident five years ago Jeremiah Daliel was left in a wheelchair. Yesterday, Jeremiah, known as Jerry, stood up for the first time since his accident, to be honoured at his graduation from Bristol UWE.

He said: “The roar of applause grew louder and louder and continued as if it was playing in my body. It was only when my aide alerted me that my whole class had stood up in support that I realised that these were not just classmates but my dear friends.

“I had done it and I prayed and said ‘thank you, thank you’.”

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During his time at UWE Jeremiah promised his course mates that he would do his best to stand for his graduation but something he never forgot. He said: “I had promised my classmates that I was going to work extra hard health-wise to be well enough to be honoured standing.”

In a post on his Linkedin page, Jeremiah wrote: “On the morning of the graduation, I saw all my classmates running around getting ready and remembered my promise to them. [On the day] I kept my promise secret from friends and family up until 10:10 am as I was getting ready to be hoisted onto the stage, I made a remark to the effect that I was going to do something silly on stage.”


At one point, Jerry didn’t think it would happen: “The graduation team, who only learnt of my stunt that morning, were deliberating on health and safety matters and it looked like it was not going to happen after all. It was only after a few minutes into the ceremony that I got a thumbs up from the graduation team which meant that there was no time for rehearsal. I only had this chance and it had to be right.”

Having worked with the police he was used to a very active lifestyle, and so as would be expected this came as a huge shock.  “I spent a lot of my time in and out of hospital and realised that apart from my deep law passion I had a bit of time on my hands. Having partly studied Crime and Criminology, I enrolled to read law at the University of the West of England (UWE). In 2015 I graduated with a BSc in Crime and Criminology from University of Portsmouth. During the Portsmouth graduation ceremony, I was not fit enough like the others to stand and receive the honour.

“Over the three years, I faced difficult challenges and this dream seemed to escape faster as graduation day approached. A nasty fall had put me off and the stress just piled on.”