Having been passionate about many historical subjects, particularly the First World War, in 2007 I enrolled on a part time BA with Honours Degree in Local and Regional History at the University of Hull. It was the beginning of six years of learning and discipline, but also one of great pleasure and satisfaction whilst many good friendships were forged between our small group which seldom numbered more than 12.

Yesterday July 10th 2013 was the culmination of six years at Hull University, and I was one of three from our original class of 2007 to collect my degree. As I queued down the long corridor of the Guildhall waiting to collect my gown amidst students many over 20 years younger than myself I had not a clue what to expect having never been to anything similar. I felt a mixture of emotions, pride to have got there, a little humbled, and sad that something so enjoyable and positive in my life had come to an end after so many years.

The Hull City Hall is an magnificent venue, and the Graduation Ceremony with its quaint and historical customs is just as impressive. We were initially instructed what protocol to adopt, women to keep their caps on, when standing and sitting, men to remove them when sitting, we were even instructed in clapping. The young girl sat next to me was being awarded a degree in music and drama, she was amused when she knew I was just one of three from Local History, there were almost 200 from her department of Music and Drama

We were seated by surname and not subject, so I was quite near the front. Ushered towards the stage in groups of ten, we were instructed to glide across the stage as we went up individually to be honoured. On the stage were all the Officers of Hull University and the heads of different departments. The Chancellor of Hull University is The Rt Hon Baroness Bottomley of Nettlestone. Or many will remember her better as Virginia Bottomley MP and Secretary of State for Health and later Secretary of State for National Heritage in John Majors cabinet during the 1990s.

As we crossed the stage individually she would smile and nod as we walked by. We had been instructed if she wants to speak to you, she will approach you blocking your path. She stopped about one in ten, for a chat and I was one. Her passion and interest at those getting their degrees shone through, an eloquent speaker, it would be difficult to imagine anybody better suited for the job.

After three hours and hundreds of students being awarded degrees in Drama and Music; History, Philosophy and Theology the perfectly staged ceremony came to an end. Afterwards hundreds of students families and friends headed to Holy Trinity for a reception, whilst many others found nearby pubs and restaurants to carry on the celebration.

A day of mixed emotions and one that will live long in the memory.

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