Family pride as mum and son graduate together

Graduation day was a real family affair for proud Doncaster mum and son Christine and David Branton.

Christine and David both donned mortar board and gowns to pick up their certificates and complete a family success story, as University Centre, Doncaster, held its first ever graduation day at the Cast theatre, Waterdale.

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Joanne Gray,Naomi Turner, Adam Johnson and Christine Branton. Picture Scott Merrylees

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Joanne Gray,Naomi Turner, Adam Johnson and Christine Branton. Picture Scott Merrylees

The venue replaced Doncaster Minster as the graduation venue, with graduates milling in Sir Nigel Gresley Square to pick up degrees and diplomas, after completing courses at Doncaster College.

Mum Christine, aged 62, from Sprotbrough, picked up her BA in English after studying for three years.

She took a degree to boost her confidence after having spent several years looking after her mum, a dementia sufferer. That came to an end after her mum had to be taken into a home.

It left a gap in her life – which she decided to fill with a degree.

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre.  Sophie Buckley.  Picture Scott Merrylees

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Sophie Buckley. Picture Scott Merrylees

By co-incidence, while she was studying, David, a railway engineer from Harlington, was sent on a Higher National Certificate electrical engineering course by his employers at the same college. It turned out to have the same graduation ceremony.

Christine said: “I’m really proud of him – and it is so wonderful that we’ve graduated together.”

David added: “I’m so proud of my mum.”

They were among hundreds of success stories at the college graduating this week.

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Stacey  weatherley with husband Ricky and mum Coleen Williams. Picture Scott Merrylees

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Stacey weatherley with husband Ricky and mum Coleen Williams. Picture Scott Merrylees

Adam Johnson, aged 34, from Mexborough, picked up his BA in English – and said he had turned his education around after messing up his GCSEs as a teenager.

He said: “I worked in calls centres for 10 years – but I wanted more. So I re-did my GCSEs, and started a job in a school as a teaching assistant. That was what started me towards my degree. Now I’m looking at training to be a teacher.”

Some picking up degrees where the first in their family to graduate, including mums Joanne Gray, 44, of Thorne and Naomi Turner, 35, of Balby, both picking up their BAs in English.

Fine art and crafts graduate Stacey Weatherley, aged 32, was also the first in her family to get a degree.

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Mother and son Christine and David Branton. Picture Scott Merrylees

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Mother and son Christine and David Branton. Picture Scott Merrylees

The mum of three, now a teaching assistant at Waverley Academy, Balby, discovered a creative talent when she made the decorations for herself at her own wedding.

She said: “​​​​​I think a lot of people think when you leave school, what you do next is what you do for the rest of your life. I think this shows you can go back to education as an adult.” 

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Bradley Maltby, Liam Doyle and Ed Miles. Picture Scott Merrylees

Graduation ceremony at 'Cast' for students from Doncaster College's University Centre. Bradley Maltby, Liam Doyle and Ed Miles. Picture Scott Merrylees