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Homeless man realizes dream of Cambridge

By China Daily in London | China Daily | Updated: 2017-11-17 08:53

A homeless man who has spent most of his life on the streets has achieved his dream of becoming an English literature student at Cambridge University.

Geoffrey Edwards, 52, told Cambridge News that he was "still getting used to the idea" that he now attends one of the world's top universities.

"Going to Cambridge University was a dream of mine, this is what I have always wanted to do, but no one in my family had been to university, so I didn't consider it."

After growing up in Liverpool in a family of laborers, he left home in search of work, traveling to Kent, Gloucestershire and Scotland.

After years of camping out and moving on when the work came to an end, he arrived in Cambridge, where he sold the Big Issue magazine, which supports charities that help homeless people.

Edwards said selling the magazine helped give him back some self-respect.

"I realized things needed to change, so I went to see the local college to see if I could get back into education," he told Cambridge News.

Having left school with only basic math and O-level English, Edwards did not have much of an education but he always had a passion for reading and was never without a book.

"But I'd had a long time out of education, so I needed to do a gateway course, a preaccess course," he said.

Three years ago, he began a course at Cambridge Regional College, where he gained distinctions in every subject. His tutor then recommended he try for Cambridge.

Edwards said the course did him "so much good".

"There was always someone there to talk to and the college was very welcoming," he said. "I was worried about my age but studying makes you feel young and I have enjoyed mixing with young people."

Edwards has now begun his studies at Hughes Hall, one of the colleges of Cambridge University.

"I didn't think Cambridge University would take someone like me, I can't believe what I've achieved," he said. "Cambridge is a big step up but I am looking forward to pushing myself."

Debbie Goodrick, a tutor at the college he used to attend, said Edwards was an outstanding student, and she was delighted his hard work had been recognized.

"Geoff has had an incredible journey to where he is now, and I have no doubt that he will flourish at Cambridge," Goodrick said.

Anthony Freeling, the president of Hughes Hall, told Cambridge News: "Hughes Hall is committed to ensuring that the gates of Cambridge University are open to all who have the potential to succeed."

Zhang Yangfei contributed to this story.

(China Daily 11/17/2017 page10)

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