A single mum has followed in her own mother’s footsteps by gaining an Open University degree while bringing up a young child.
Heidi McCafferty, aged 29, is the third member of her family to achieve a degree from the distance learning institution.
Twenty-seven years ago, Heidi and her sister Sara featured in the Advertiser, aged two and five, when their mother Susanne gained her Open University (OU) degree.
Back in 1987, Great Horwood resident Susanne said the early morning TV lectures of those days had posed no problem for her, as she was usually up anyway, feeding baby Heidi.
But she added there were times when combining babies, housework and hours of study proved very tiring, “especially as Heidi hardly slept for the first 19 months of her life”.
Sara graduated from the OU a few years ago with a first-class degree in social sciences.
And this month Heidi, who lives in Buckingham, graduated at Milton Keynes Theatre with a BA Hons in literature.
Heidi said: “My mum managed to achieve her degree while running a house and bringing up two small children, and I managed it while raising my son on my own and working.”
Susanne is now a dyslexia specialist working with young adults and is halfway through a masters degree at Northampton University.
Heidi, who left the Royal Latin School at 18, had a successful career in radio and was just about to take up a position at a radio station in New York when she discovered she was expecting her son, Finley, now aged five.
She said: “It took me in a different direction. I didn’t want to go back into radio. It’s not family friendly at all.”
“The OU’s always been part of my life, with my mum and my sister doing it.
“It hasn’t been the easiest road but it’s definitely been worthwhile.
“It literally changed my life. It gives you so much confidence, you’re meeting such interesting people.”
For the past two years, Heidi has worked in the OU’s international development office, and is now studying for a masters in global development management.
She said: “I was so determined to work there because I’d seen first hand the difference the OU has on people lives.”