When Avril’s husband died in 1997 she lost her one true inspiration to learn. Having left school at 19 unable to read and write, wheelchair-bound with cerebral palsy and consigned to work in industrial packaging for the disabled, Avril at last began her learning journey with his encouragement.
But the muse he stirred never left her and she was soon taking opportunities at Croydon Adult Learning and Training (CALAT). To date, the 69-year-old with severe learning difficulties has completed 70 courses from English and Maths to Fitness, Music and Computing. She has also created a manual to make computing easier and is publishing it for others to use.
Bernadette Blackwell, learning support organiser, says Avril’s initial aim was to be literate enough to read her own post, write her shopping lists and run her own affairs. “She has achieved this – and proved an inspiration to others.”
Avril says she can now give something back. “As a disabled person I have become much more confident, outgoing and more able to run my own life.”