Scarborough TEC student Iris proves you're never too old to learn

The TEC graduates
The TEC graduates

Seventy-four-year-old Iris Poppy Simpson is proof that you’re never too old to learn.

With time on her hands, and a passion for sewing, she enrolled on a higher education course at Scarborough TEC – and has just graduated.

Iris Simpson with sons Chris, left, and Matt

Iris Simpson with sons Chris, left, and Matt

Iris celebrated with other TEC students as she received her BA (Hons) in Historical & Performance Costume for Stage & Screen.

She said: “I chose to study for the degree after my husband passed away. I found myself with a lot of time on my hands and wanted something to do. I’d sewn since I was a tiny tot and had made clothes for my children.

“I went to a meeting where one of the tutors was talking about historical costume and showing off the students’ work and he asked me to bring a portfolio of work in.

“The other students were all in the late teens or early twenties, I was like the Granny of the group. I managed very well, I loved the course, it was a wonderful journey. I want to go on to take commissions and I’m currently working on a big wedding, it feels fabulous and I’m very honoured to be able to use the skills I’ve learnt.”

Iris was joined for the celebration by one of her sons, Chris, and her friend Bea but was surprised when her eldest son and daughter-in-law, Matt and D’arcy Smith, flew in from the USA, arriving as she prepared to go into the ceremony.

She added: “I’m overwhelmed to have graduated, it feels a bit unreal but to have my two sons, my friend and my daughter-in-law here with me has made it very special indeed.”

Students from Scarborough TEC were joined by staff, families and friends as they celebrated their Graduation at Great Grimsby Town Hall.

Higher Education courses at the college are validated by the University of Hull and Teesside University, through Scarborough TEC’s partner organisation, Grimsby Institute of Further and Higher Education, and the students from BA (Hons) Fine Art, BA (Hons) Historical & Performance Costume for Stage & Screen and teacher training programmes took to the stage to receive their qualifications.

Ann Hardy, Principal of Scarborough TEC, said: “Our Graduation ceremony recognises all of the hard work our students have put into their course. It also allows the individuals to celebrate with their families and those who have supported them throughout their time with us.

“I feel so very proud to see our students graduating. Some of them came to us aged 16 and we have seen them grow and progress through the different levels. I hope they’ve all had a fantastic time.”

The following students Graduated from programmes at Scarborough TEC in 2017.

* First Class Honours at degree.


Vicki Clampitt

Alexandra Murphy

Leila Murphy

Neal Smith-Amies

Caroline Thompson



Peter Jamieson

Lauren Kirkley

Louise Leadley

Keith McCrorie


Sarah Aiston

Kiera Birkenshaw

Alexander Dib-Bennett

Louise Doyle

Jade Ford

Sam Gregory

Lauren Henderson

Elinor Hodgkins

Angela Howard

Samantha Johnson

Alexander Leighton

Danny Malton

Laura Manton

Rachel Renwick*

Christine Savage

Nicole Shaw

Magenta Shepley

Kimberley Somers

Julie Springall*

Atlanta Torr

Paul Woods



Samantha Burn

Frances Clayton

Imogen Duke

Isabel Innes*

Elizabeth Johnstone

Hannah Pegram

Abby Perry

Lydia Robson*

Iris Simpson

Jessica Titcombe

Daniel Willis

Hayley-Sara Willis