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A LESSON TO US ALL; Inspiring tales of degree success.

Byline: By MICHELLE FIDDLER

THEY have overcome personal tragedy and hardship and shown dogged determination in pursuit of their goals.

But they all have one thing in common, they have graduated from Liverpool's Hope university.

Their stories are an inspiration to everyone.

Almost 2,000 students have graduated from Hope this week in three ceremonies.

The ECHO's four featured graduates were pickedout by the university for their commitment, dedication and success.

They are just four of the institution's 7,000-plus registered students.

Liverpool Hope is one of the country's newest universities, but its history as an educational institution stretches back to the 19th Century.

Catholic and Church of England teaching colleges in Merseyside amalgamated in 1980 to become Liverpool Institute of Higher Education (LIHE).

In 1995 it was renamed Liverpool Hope, taking its title from Archbishop Derek Worlock and Bishop David Sheppard's writings, and became a fully fledged university in July last year.

Hope now plans to apply for research degree awarding powers over the next few years.

MOTHER-of-four Julie Ferguson had to cope with her house burning down, three cars crashing into it and worry over family illness.

But it has not stopped the 35-year-old from Fazakerley. Julie has devoted much of her life to her four children but never gave up her goal of being a teacher.

She graduated with a First Class Honours degree in special needs and professional studies and has been nominated for two awards.

Julie said: "My advice is if you really want it, go for it with all your energy."

MOTHER Lesley Baugh, 49, believes in keeping it in the family.

Not only does she graduate at the same time as daughters, Nicola Baugh, 22, and Joanne Duff, 28, but she will also become a grandmother twice in the New Year when both give birth.

Lesley, of Childwall, and Joanne, of Prescot, both graduate with a BA in nursery management.

Nicola, also of Childwall, graduates with a BA Honours with theology and religious studies.

Lesley said: "It is the best thing I ever did. It's given me confidence."

DEBORAH Moore's academic career was nearly over before it started.

A year after she started studying she was involved in a bus crash on a school trip with pupils from Broadgreen primary, where she was a teaching assistant.

Deborah, 37, from Wavertree, was in a coma for three days and left with serious injuries in 2003.

The mother to Rebecca, 11, graduated with a foundation degree in supporting learning and teaching and plans to carry on studying to become a teacher.

FIREFIGHTER Peter Nelson graduates with a First Class Honours BSc human & applied biology with sport studies degree.

Peter, 37, father to three year-old Thomas, has also been awarded two of the University's prizes.

His dissertation also generated data which changed occupational health practice for firefighters in Merseyside.

Peter, from Rainhill, works as watch manager at Eccleston fire station. He said: "Doing the degree has enabled me to meet lots of people."

michellefiddler@liverpoolecho.co.uk
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Oct 27, 2006
Words:501
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