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Mother of five graduates with law degree

* 19 July 2002 *

Mother of five graduates with law degree

Going back into education as a mature student can be daunting, but 35-year-old Moira Woodhouse has proved that it can be done. The mother of five graduated today (Friday 19 July) from the University of Sussex with a Bachelor of Laws degree.

"I'd previously had a good job in the aviation industry, but having taken a break to start a family I decided to change my career direction," says Moira, from Eastbourne.

Like many mature students, Moira was concerned she would feel isolated on a campus full of young people. She needn't have worried, because she soon made friendships with students her own age but also discovered the benefits of studying with people from different backgrounds.

"Studying at Sussex has broadened my horizons and allowed me to mix with a vast cross-section of people," she says. "I have enjoyed my studies, even though it's been very hard work."

Still, juggling a full-time degree course with bringing up a large family was a logistical challenge, to say the least. And it became even more complicated when Moira fell pregnant with her youngest daughter, Brogan, in her first year at Sussex.

Brogan celebrated her second birthday this month with her brothers Connor (4) and 8-year-old Liam, as well as her sisters Carys (6) and Sian, who will be 10 next month.

With Moira's husband Simon out at work at the Eastbourne Motoring Centre, family life was run like a military manoeuvre. "I was lucky because my parents took over the running of the house and my children but, even so, I had to be very regimented," Moira recalls. "Balancing family life and studying can be difficult - you have to be focused - but everyone at Sussex has been very supportive."

Now it's all over, the proud graduate is well on the way to fulfilling her ambition of becoming a solicitor. Since her final exams finished, Moira has been working full-time at solicitors firm Mayo & Perkins, which will be sponsoring her through her qualifying year at law school in London.

And Moira is adamant that there will not be the patter of any more tiny feet in the Woodhouse household. "I've done my bit for procreation!" she laughs.

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For photos or further information, please contact Alison Field or Peter Simmons, University of Sussex: tel. 01273 678888, fax 01273 877456, email or

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