Grandmother, 86, awarded doctorate from University of Bristol

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Media captionPeggy Styles left school at 15 with a shorthand qualification

A grandmother who nearly died due to a kidney infection has graduated with a doctorate in education from the University of Bristol.

Peggy Styles, 86, took eight years to complete the course due to the life-threatening condition.

"The university was absolutely super and agreed to suspend my studies until I felt better. I was determined to finish my doctorate," she said.

She is the oldest ever student to graduate from the university.

'Learn to walk'

Mrs Styles, from Failand near Bristol, fell ill about three years ago, forcing her to suspend her studies for 18 months.

Typically a doctorate degree takes about three to four years to complete.

"I was so ill that I nearly died. I was in hospital for a month and had to learn to walk again," she said.

Mrs Styles will be joined by her family when she collects her doctorate on 19 July.

Sadly her husband John will not be at her side as he died in 2016 just as she was finishing her 48,000-word dissertation.

"Although I'm 86, I don't really feel that old," she said.

'Tongue still wags'

"My legs and arms are not what they were but my tongue still wags and my brain still functions. I'd keep studying forever if I could."

Mrs Styles was born in England to Belgian parents in 1931 and was six when the family moved back to Belgium.

They returned to England as refugees in 1940, having escaped on the last troop ship sailing out of St Malo.

Due to the upheaval and being schooled in different languages she left school at 15 with only a qualification in shorthand.

Her grandson Oliver inspired her to return to education when he asked her for help with a school project about World War Two.

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