AN INSPIRATIONAL grandmother who lives in Cirencester encourages others to aim high after she begins her sixth degree at 85-years-old.

Lucille Terry, who lives in Rangeford Village's Siddington Park retirement village, was presented with a certificate which celebrates her amazing commitment to higher education in Cirencester Parish Church on Monday, May 20.

The retired teacher is currently studying Religious studies, Philosophy and Ethics (hons), her fourth degree with The Open University and says studying during retirement makes her feel better mentally and physically.

Her longstanding love for learning blossomed during childhood and she completed her first degree in pharmacy at Manchester University in 1962.

Later on she decided to switch career paths and trained to be a teacher and completed a science foundation course in 1972.

When older pupils at her school expressed a desire to take Psychology exams she pursued a Psychology degree.

Instead of taking up gardening and crosswords as a hobby in retirement, she decided to undergo another degree with The Open University specialising in Humanities with Religious studies.

She hopes her story will help inspire others and firmly believes that everyone, regardless of age, is capable of achieving their goals if they put their mind to it.

Mrs Terry said: "I think education in retirement gives your life a focus and it makes me feel better physically and mentally.

"If I have a few days not doing anything, I will start doing some of my course and it makes me feel more mentally alert.

"I went to the asthma nurse the other day and she said so many of her patients say I'm too old to do this and that - but that just isn't true.

"One of my friends said that when you get to our stage of life it is like being at base camp; there is a whole range of things you could do, you just have to decide which path to take.

"People tend to say to me 'you must be very clever' but I always say no I am not, I just like to work hard and enjoy studying.

"My message is don't think you can't do something because you are too old.

"If you really want to do something, you can do it."

A keen church goer, Mrs Terry attends weekly services at Cirencester Baptist Church but the vicar there, Matt Frost, has only recently discovered her passion for academia and lengthy list of qualifications. 

Along with Canon Graham Morris, the vicar presented her with the framed letter from The Open University which celebrates her academic achievements.

Pastor Frost said: "Lucille has been a member of our church for many years and she has been hiding her light under a bowl because we didn't know about her secret life of studying and degrees, so we were all very impressed."

Revd Morris added: "Her ability to go on studying is incredible.

"She is probably more qualified than most of the bishops that I work with, this is a really incredible achievement for her and I am just in awe of her.

"I hope when my turn comes to retire, she can be an inspiration to me."