Doctors at the double; Mum graduates with daughter... from same uni!
Dr Sharon Probert, 46, and Dr Gemma Probert, 23, from Yarm, both studied for a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS) degree at Newcastle University.
Husband John, son Michael, 20, and 12-year-old daughter Helen joined the pair to celebrate their graduation yesterday.
The pair are now both preparing to start jobs at the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust.
Sharon said: "We've been in the same lectures for much of the time for the last five years - me at the front and Gemma at the back.
"We never set out to study together but rather fate intervened after I delayed starting the MBBS programme for a year.
"In the whole of five years we've never worked together - so now we're graduating this could be the first time." Mrs Probert said returning to education as a mature student placed a strain upon family life.
"I've wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid but I never dreamt it would be offered to me," she said.
"When the opportunity came I was 38 and there was a lot to consider. As a mature student you really have to want to do it.
"I was giving up a well paid job, I had to juggle the family and there's still the mortgage to pay.
"All the family have pitched in to help which has been wonderful. My 12-year-old daughter Helen brought us cups of tea while we were revising together and I couldn't have done it without the support of my whole family, especially this year with all the exams." Sharon is looking to concentrate on paediatrics while Gemma, who won the Phillipson prize for her outstanding performance throughout her degree, is hoping to specialise in cardiology.
Gemma said: "The dining room became a surrogate study for the two of us, with mum at one end and me at the other with a pile of books between us.
"Having my mum in the class didn't really make a difference.
"I still lived the student experience, the only difference being I worked harder because when I came home my mum was studying which made me study too."
Professor Suzanne Cholerton, dean of undergraduate studies at Newcastle University, said: "It's great to see this double celebration - this is possibly the first time that a mother and daughter have graduated as medical doctors together.
"The medical degree requires all students to demonstrate significant commitment to their studies; for mature students graduating today, like Sharon, the will to succeed often needs to be even greater.
"We wish Gemma and Sharon every success in the future."
We've been in the same lectures for much of the time for the last five years - me at the front and Gemma at the back - mum Sharon Probert, pictured above with daughter Gemma, right, on their graduation. Right, how we told of their progress three years ago"