Grandad picks up degree at 77

Frank Hardy

Frank Hardy

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A man who left school in Chesterfield with no qualifications has worked his way to a degree - at the grand old age of 77.

Frank Hardy graduated with a BA in Community and Practice from Sheffield University.

He said: “You are never too old to learn and to succeed.

“To all my friends at Sheepbridge this degree is for you who, like me, was considered too stupid to attend grammar school.”

Frank, who was born in Sheepbridge, was a pupil at Brushes Primary School where he captained the football team and had a trial for Derby boys. He injured his knee in a fall when he was 11 which hit attendance at Mary Swanwick School and he left there without qualifications.

Frank found employment at Henry Boot’s machine shop in Callywhite Lane, Dronfield.

He said: “My mum bought me three encyclopaedias and I read and read. The company sent me to Chesterfield College but I had convinced myself that I wasn’t an academic and was more practical. One day the teacher asked the class a question they couldn’t answer and I could. I realised my self-taught apprenticeship had done me some good. I was teaching other lads in Henry Boot how to be engineers.”

Over the years, Frank, who is now 78, worked in various companies including Plowrights factory in Brampton and Land Pyrometers. He was employed as a labourer building Dronfield Civic Centre and said: “I weighed 12 stone 7lb and in three months I was down to 9 stone 7lbs.”

In the 1990s, Frank went to Parsons Cross college, Sheffield. He said: “I went to study English - my hated subject - and I got a C in my studies.”

Frank, whose first wife died when their daughter was 12 and who is divorced from his second spouse, has five grandsons. He lives in Dryden Road, Sheffield.