When bricklayer Razelle Lomax suffered an injury which put an end to her career, she was forced to rethink her line of work.
And for the Bispham mum, it opened up a chance for her to follow a lifelong interest and passion.
The 46-year-old has just graduated from Edge Hill University, with first class honours in a BSc in Nutrition and Health. Not only did she graduate with first class honours, she received a prize for the joint highest dissertation mark in her faculty.
Razelle had been forced to change careers after injuring her hand and arm. She said: “When I injured my hand and arm, I decided it was time for a career change from bricklaying. My hands were unfortunately too small really for the nature of the work, it meant I was straining my hands, which was causing damage.
“I had to have an operation and was told I couldn’t go back to the same career.
“I have always had an interest in nutrition and health, and was told the degree in this area at Edge Hill had an excellent reputation.
“After attending an open day, I became even keener to join the course.
“I found the lectures extremely interesting and relevant, and this helped me achieve good grades and a high mark in my final dissertation.
“As part of my course, I also had the opportunity to carry out a 21-day work placement in Sardinia – this was a fantastic experience and I think all students would benefit greatly from opportunities like this. The idea of the Mediterranean diet and a different lifestyle has lessons for health we can all use.
“The first thing I noticed was there were not many overweight people over there.
“I feel really passionate about trying to work to tackle the obesity problem over here, particularly in Blackpool.
“It is a growing issue and I want to raise awareness and do what I can to help in my community. I’m Blackpool born and bred, so it’s important to me to put something back. I’m already volunteering for a weight management project at Moor Park through the council.
“The support I received during the three years of study at Edge Hill was excellent, which enabled me to gain confidence in all aspects of my learning needs. The course I studied has given me the skills and knowledge to be confident in my own abilities to enter the workplace, or continue with further education.”
Razelle also hopes her success as a mature student will show others anyone can achieve their goals.
She said: “On my graduation day, there was a lady there who was 60, I think she had studied social care. What a fantastic example to show anyone can do it – it’s never too late. It was hard work, but it really was worth it.
“Edge Hill was such a great learning environment, it really gave me such great support, the lecturers were so inspirational – I feel sad to leave.”