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Cherry Butcher

Having spent her whole life as a hairdresser, Cherry Butcher has a wealth of stories to tell.

Now 68, she left school at 15 with a host of non-academic skills under her belt including art, domestic science and a sporting prowess, but struggled with academia. She longed to be a hairdresser and was awarded an apprenticeship with the Plymouth and South Devon Co-Operative Society, and is still working in the profession today. Cherry describes her life as a “rollercoaster” and has longed to write about it, but didn’t have the skills or confidence.

In her 50s she took on several writing courses and a GCSE, and at this time she was diagnosed with dyslexia. She became a mum at 17, and went on to have another two children, all of whom are now grown up.

She said: “I’m surplus to requirements now, so I feel it’s time to follow my dream and become a writer – it’s now or never.”

Cherry found out about the Access to Higher Education courses at City College Plymouth and enrolled on an express one-year Access to Humanities course, which involved history, creative writing and English. She said: “It’s been very difficult, not having been in education since the age of 15, coupled with the dyslexia, but the support from the teachers and the support worker have been phenomenal. You just need to apply yourself, appreciate the opportunity and do the best you can.”

She has now completed her course and achieved the UCAS points needed to start a three-year degree in creative writing at the University of Plymouth.

If you’re looking to fulfil a lifetime’s ambition but have lacked the educational opportunity to do so, the City College Plymouth’s Access courses could be for you. There are a range of study options, but we’ll always find the one that’s right for you.

Click here to find out more about our access courses.