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Pensioner shares his story

A Sunderland pensioner, who has gone on to become a published author following a short term college course, has been speaking to the next generation at an event to promote equality.

Ken Hall, 89, from Tunstall, was one of a number of visitors who attended an event at college that was created to celebrate equality and diversity.  The retired engineer spoke to students about his own experience at Sunderland college, having completed an ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence course) some years ago that inspired him to write his own short stories.   As part of the course Mr Hall was taught to use Microsoft programmes, which gave him the confidence to get started on his writing.  He has gone on to publish his children’s stories online.

He attended the college’s Equality and Diversity Week to share his stories with students, and to help showcase the difference that the college’s adult courses can make to the lives of people of all ages. 

Mr Hall said: “I have a saying, and that is that people who believe that they are too old to read a children’s fairy story are very old indeed.

“People who believe they are too old to learn new skills are also very old indeed, and I was glad to be able to show that college is not just a place for young people. 

“The course I completed here helped me turn what was a hobby and a lifelong ambition into a reality.  It was a real pleasure to take part in the course and even better to come back to the college to help students see that this is a place that can make a difference whatever your age.  

“I never thought that, in my 80s, I would be able to learn new skills, but I did just that and it was great.”

The grandad of three, whose daughter Kris Coates is a lecturer at the college, completed a flexible adult course at Bede Campus. 

Mrs Coates said: “We work with people of all ages, young and old, but Mr Hall was one of our more mature learners. 

“It’s fantastic to be able to help people develop new skills, whether it is just for fun, or to help them improve their employability.  I am sure the students my dad shared his story with would have been amazed by what a young outlook he has on life.  It’s great to be able to see diversity in action at the college.”

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