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Hold on to your hats!

Date online: 21 July 2014

IT failed to rain on the parade as family and friends turned out to honour the town’s graduates.

Early showers stopped in time for University Campus Oldham’s (UCO) traditional celebrations on Friday — but a moderate breeze meant students had to hold on to their mortar boards.

Around 90 students graduating in 11 subjects posed for photogrpahs and “selfies” before taking part in a colourful town-centre procession led by Skelmanthorpe Band.

They then received their degrees during a ceremony at Oldham Parish Church where honorary fellowships were also awarded to Oldham Council leader Jim McMahon and entrepreneur David Bellis.


Mum-of-two Teresa Gime (27) received a 2:2 in business management. She completed her degree while working for House of Fraser and will now do a managerial course with the company.

She admitted it was hard to return to education after having children and explained: “It was hard, but I finished the course and I am very proud.”

Former Oldham Sixth From College student Nicola Millward (21), from Middleton, received a 2:1 in psychological studies.

She said: “I am pleased with that. I have enjoyed studying close to home and I like how there is a diverse range of people at UCO.”

She hopes to go into marketing or business management and sister Philippa added: “I am so proud of her, she is the hardest working person I know.”

Nine students received degrees in digital arts practice — their work is on show at Gallery Oldham until August 9.

They included Tom Fenton (24), from Staffordshire, who received first-class honours — despite leaving school without any GCSE grades above a D.

Councillor McMahon (34) was honoured for his work to regenerate Oldham and raise the profile of the borough.

He left school at 16 and worked in a cash and carry as a “trolley pusher” for six months before going on to become an apprentice technician at Manchester University.

“I have never been to university so it means a lot. It is quite an honour and it is fairly overwhelming for me and my family,” said Councillor McMahon whose partner Charlene and their sons, Jack (12) and Harry (5) attended the ceremony.

“It’s very early into my political career but I see this as a sign of trust that the town is putting in the plan to regenerate Oldham.”

Entrepreneur David Bellis MBE (75) left school at 15. He worked as an apprentice and studied mechanical engineering at Oldham Technical School before going on to found the multi-million pound company Coin Controls.

He was accompanied by his wide Brenda and said: “I am very humbled and honoured to be given this award. I never expected it and I am overwhelmed really.”

“A total of 116 students graduated this year, with not all of them attending the ceremony, down from nearly 200 last year.

UCO head Debbie Bridge said this was because it had changed the “portfolio of courses” it offers. New courses are being introduced in September in partnership with Salford University and the numbers are expected to rise.
To read the full version of this story see the Chronicle’s E-chron digital edition or buy the newspaper.


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