After receiving a whole host of entries to our centenary Love to Learn competition, we've finally whittled it down to one winner.

Before we reveal the big news, we'd first like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took the time to send in their story about why they loved to learn - it really was extremely difficult to pick a winner!

Eileen with her prize

After much deliberation, we choose Eileen's blog as the winning entry. Her uplifting and inspiring blog post about returning to learning both hugely impressed and inspired us. We've posted it below if you'd like to have another read - let us know what you think in the comments below! Congratulations Eileen, we hope you enjoy your prize!

Love to Learn - Eileen's Story

Sometimes, it seems we live our lives for other people. We conform, we're mums, dads, nurses, accountants and we live in the groove that families and communities expect of us. Most of the time we're happy, after all, we love our families, many of us are fortunate that they love us back. We do the job we trained for and receive adequate recompense and are content.

Returning to old hobbies

Before long retirement is on the horizon and a vacuum appears in life that no amount of holidays and social activity can fill. Desperately searching for fulfilment I turned to a hobby of my youth. For many years, I had written bits of poetry and short stories. Once completed, they were consigned to a drawer never to see the light of day again.

Re-awakening a passion

Through a friend, I found that Bolton University was running a Bachelor of Art course in creative writing. I had no GCSEs or any educational qualifications other than those acquired through my job. I don't think they had them when I left school. However I attended an open day, more as an act of bravado than anything else, no-one in my family had ever attended university. They looked at my writing and I was given a place. In two hours my life was totally changed.

Education as salvation

Education rescued me from boredom, gave me an incentive that I needed to live with enthusiasm. It gave me a social and professional life where age was irrelevant. The skills learned meant that I could help my community by working as a workshop facilitator and mentor in an area where sadly, there is very little financial support. The performance aspect of my work has given me the confidence to speak up in defence of my beliefs and my community.

The power of learning

Education has taught me the power of language, of how important the arts are in the development and betterment of our society and how to work towards this end. One more person educated in whatever subject can only be to the benefit of us all whatever area we work in. 

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