She battles brain tumour to gain history 2:1
* Pam Williams-Hughes will graduate with a 2:1 in history from Glyndwr University.
A LLANGOLLEN woman has won her battle against a brain tumour and severe dyslexia to gain a university degree at the age of 69.
Pam Williams-Hughes will proudly collect a 2:1 BA Honours in History at the Glyndwr University graduation ceremony in October.
And she says her achievement marks the fulfilment of a lifelong dream to hold a university degree.
Pam, who is originally from Birmingham and moved to Llangollen last February after spending her working life first in the Royal Air Force and then with local authorities, was diagnosed with a brain tumour before she started as a mature student on a fine art degree course at Glyndwr in Wrexham in 2007.
She said: “I did the degree because I wanted something bigger in my life than the tumour.”
But a brain scan in September 2008 revealed the devastating news that the tumour on her pituitary gland had tripled in size in just three months.
Pam had to undergo a life-saving operation at a neurological hospital in Liverpool, which saw the tumour successfully removed.
Despite being given the welcome news the growth had not been malignant, her sight was affected.
Although this did not seem too critical to her, doctors told her it was severe enough to mean she could not wear goggles or a face mask which are often necessary on the art course she was on.
She said: “This meant I wasn’t able to continue with fine art but I was allowed by the university and Denbighshire County Council to transfer to a history degree course and I was told the research work I had already done for fine art, privately and at the Glyndwr, would be acceptable on that.
“I therefore moved over to history and I am delighted to say I will graduate with a 2:1 in October.
“At the graduation ceremony I will also be presented with an award for being an outstanding student in humanities, so I am looking forward very much to that.”
She added: “I’ve had to work really hard and have achieved this despite the brain tumour and having severe dyslexia but it is the realisation of a dream I have had since I was a child to have a university degree.
“Throughout I have received excellent support from everyone at the university, especially Dr Kathryn Ellis, the head of history, and Peter Bolton, one of the main tutors, who have both been fantastic.
“Hopefully, what I have been able to do will inspire other people to see what they are capable of.”
The dissertation which helped Pam land her degree was an exploration of the case of Abraham Thomas, a young man from Henllan, near Denbigh, who was hanged in Manchester for the murder of his employer’s housekeeper in 1883.
Pam said: “There were grave doubts whether he actually did pull the trigger so I suggest in my dissertation there was a miscarriage of justice.
“I now plan to take a year off from my studies to write a book based on my dissertation before returning to Glyndwr in September next year to work with Kathryn Ellis and Peter Bolton towards an MA qualification and then a PHD in 19th century Welsh crime and the social conditions linked to it.”
Pam will refer the case of Abraham Thomas when she delivers a lecture on miscarriages of justice for members of the English Methodist Church's This and That group at Llangollen Memorial Hall next January.