Father and son find inspiration in one other
Released: Tuesday 10th July 2012 at 16:08
A father and son have proved that the family that sticks together succeeds together – and today Neale and Ben Pardey collected their degrees from the University of Sunderland.
Father Neale (44) collected his BA in Business and HR Management and son Ben (22) his BSc in Biomedical Sciences from the university’s Chancellor Steve Cram at the Stadium of Light.
Though both studied for very different degrees, dad Neale says working together inspired them to get through not only the hard work of study, but also a difficult time for their family after Neale was made redundant.
“My decision to study came from having been made redundant,” says Neale, from Silksworth in Sunderland, “but having a mortgage to pay meant I still had to work full time whilst studying, which has proved hard going.”
Neale was able to find work with local firm Tombola, who proved to be very supportive, allowing him to work from home at the beginning of his course, and in his last year they let him work in the office around his classes. With the family struggling financially, Ben decided to gain work, and landed a part time job at Curry’s.
“It was real added pressure for Ben. He had to support himself rather than relying on us, and he has been able to contribute to the household,” says Neale. “We are both very proud of each other. We have both been there for each other in the times of despair that all students go through.”
Now Neale and Ben are looking to the future and both considering further study, but there is one aspect of study that the whole family is very glad is over.
“As a dad I've seen the hard work Ben has put in, studying until the early hours of morning at home and in the library, so have tried to be more patient with him when jobs around the house have needed to be done,” says Neale. “But unfortunately our dining room has been turned into a library with our books covering every surface – my wife won’t be sorry to see the end of the constant mess!”
This year's annual awards ceremonies are the biggest in the University of Sunderland's 111 year history. Over five days 3,218 students from sixty-eight countries – from Nepal to Uzbekistan - will graduate from the Stadium of Light watched by 8,786 guests, with 289 academic staff cheering on the class of 2012.