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I found a new purpose at 40

PUBLISHED: 13:22 11 September 2009 | UPDATED: 12:04 06 July 2010

AFTER leaving school with very few qualifications I started an apprenticeship as a hairdresser at a local salon in Lowestoft.

A number of years after qualifying I bought the business off the owner running it myself for 18 years and adding a complementary therapy treatment room in the process.

AFTER leaving school with very few qualifications I started an apprenticeship as a hairdresser at a local salon in Lowestoft.

A number of years after qualifying I bought the business off the owner running it myself for 18 years and adding a complementary therapy treatment room in the process.

Upon reaching the age of 40 I re-evaluated my life and decided that it was now or never for a career change. I discovered a wonderful career called occupational therapy, which incorporated my holistic values with an interest in health related conditions. However, to train as a health professional required a science degree. Therefore, due to my lack of qualifications I embarked on an access course at City College, Norwich. This gave me the qualification I needed to apply to university to do a Batchelor of Science degree in occupational therapy.

To my amazement I was accepted onto the degree course at the University of East Anglia which resulted in a difficult decision to make about my business. I was unable to find a buyer and so in the end decided to close the business.

Most of the customers were to be well catered for by two previous members of staff and I sold off fixtures, fittings and stock to help fund the degree.

I found the course really challenging, juggling raising two children, home, husband and the intensive study necessary for the course. However, I graduated this year with a Batchelor of Science degree with first class honours. I have been working at the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, as an occupational therapist since July this year on their excellent rotational scheme. I am really enjoying working in this supportive environment.

I would like to thank all those people who believed in me and supported me through the degree process. In addition I would like to send out a message, that despite leaving school with very few prospects, it can be possible to achieve your dreams, all it takes is determination, support from friends and family and a lot of hard work.

SHARON CASTRO

Manor Gardens

Hopton

This wins our Letter of the Week Award and the writer will receive a bouquet courtesy of Sansom's Florists.

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