Two generations of one Bury family have celebrated graduating with university degrees.
Husband and wife Ian and Lorraine Baison and daughter-in-law Michelle MacKin graduated from Liverpool Hope University this week, after studying for BA degrees through Holy Cross College in Bury.
Ian completed a BA in History, while Lorraine studied BA Early Childhood and Education and Michelle studied BA Education and Special Educational Needs, fitting in study around their day jobs and responsibilities – and supporting each other in the process.
Lorraine, 57, who used to work in the NHS and now works in a school said: “All my children have grown up now, and I thought this was my time to do something for me. We decided on Liverpool Hope as we believed it to be a respected and reputable university. With the added bonus of studying locally at Holy Cross College, it was an opportunity too good to miss.
“We’ve enjoyed discussing our respective courses and supporting each other through the stressful times of exams and dissertations, when we were able to help each other by adding different perspectives. Learning to view things critically has been very interesting and we’ve enjoyed some deep discussions. I’ve definitely grown and I see things differently now. I feel very privileged to be graduating from university, it is something that at one time I would have never believed possible.”
During their studies, Michelle lost her father and Lorraine lost her mother. Three days after finishing her first year exams, Michelle and her sister rode a tandem bike from Manchester to London in her father's memory.
Michelle, 38, whose husband is Elliot, Lorraine’s son and Ian’s stepson, said: “I found it a great help having Lorraine to speak to about my studies as she was going through the same thing as myself. We helped each other and we're a shoulder for each other to cry on at times. It feels great to be able to graduate at the same time and for all the family to see us do so.
“One of my greatest achievement has been completing the three years. To know you can put your mind to something and achieve it is a wonderful thing. This is something I have passed on to my children and they have seen how to apply yourself.”
Michelle has juggled her degree with her two children and her job as a mental health support worker. She now wants to use her degree to progress in the mental health sector.
Ian, who has worked as a Police Officer, owned nightclubs, run pubs, and works as a driver, has been inspired to continue studying. He said: “For a long time I had been interested in history, but I never thought I would ever get an opportunity to study it at my age. The last three years have probably been the best experience of my life. I just regret I never did it years earlier! For anybody out there who is my age, I’d say you can still follow your dream, if you still want to learn and want to be educated.
“I’m 57. I started when I was 54. I just never thought I would be able to do it, but with the policies of today, and the way they do student finance, I had an opportunity that I never thought I would ever get. Hopefully I’m going to go on to do a Masters in International Relations.”
Alyson Murray, Operational Head of the University Centre at Holy Cross said: "At Holy Cross, we are very proud of all our graduates, and wish Lorraine, Ian and Michelle every success in their future endeavours."
Study for a University degree at Holy Cross Bury: https://www.holycross.ac.uk/university-centre/studying-at-holy-cross/