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Mum wins national learning award and dedicates it to the memory of her son

15 September 2023

A mother wins a national learning award, after returning to education to pursue a career in child nursing in honour of her 13 year old son, who was tragically lost to a sudden illness.

Elinor Ridout, aged 40 from Bridgend, joined the Pathway the Healthcare course at Cardiff University after she tragically lost her son, William, to a sudden and acute illness during the height of the pandemic in March 2021. Her life had previously happily revolved around Will, who had disabilities, and his older sister Jenny.

Soon after, she felt the need to find a purpose and to do something in Will’s honour, so she enrolled on the Cardiff University course to pursue her dream of studying a degree in child nursing. The Pathway to Healthcare course a clear route for adult learners hoping to study a degree at the School of Healthcare – Elinor has since gone on to start a degree in Children’s Nursing at Cardiff University.

After successfully completed the first year of her degree, Elinor has presented with an Inspire! Award in the category of Life Change and Progression from the Learning and Work Institute Cymru.

Elinor said: “I am absolutely delighted to win this award. I would like to dedicate the award to both my children who have always inspired me to be the best person I can be. I had learnt so much from Will over the years that I wanted to do something which would allow me to use everything he had taught me, and I have always enjoyed working with children.

“Will was often in and out of hospital with his epilepsy over the years, and he absolutely loved his nurses at his school and our local hospital. The way they cared for him, and supported me, always made me extremely grateful and he was never scared of being in hospital because of them.

“I know that Will would have been incredibly proud if I was a nurse and the thought of using all that Will taught me and being able to help other families on their journey seemed the right and only way forward.

“I was so nervous about returning to study after so many years, especially with a subject that I hadn’t previously studied. The support and communication prior to the course starting was brilliant, and I felt more at ease before the first lecture had even taken place.”

The Inspire! Adult Learning Awards took place in Cardiff City Hall on September 14.

Joshua Miles, Director for Learning and Work Institute Cymru, said: “Elinor thoroughly deserves the recognition through the Life Change and Progression Award. As Elinor’s children have inspired her, she inspires us all. Her story demonstrates how learning can help create a bright and positive future for us all in the face of life’s many challenges.”

Elinor also encouraged her daughter to complete the Pathway to Business and Jenny is now studying accounting at Cardiff Business School.

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