Thank you Colchester Institute, School of Art & Design. After four years I've finished, it's over and I now have a BA degree in Graphic Design. Being paralysed completely from the neck down due to a spinal cord injury I am now really looking forward to some time out.

Eight years ago I had started a small business with a Princes' Trust grant. I worked from home using a specially adapted computer for typesetting and printing. However a quite voice inside grew louder. It kept saying that being an RAF Military Policeman twelve years ago before my accident was not really training for the new work I was now doing.

Being paralysed, using an electric chin control wheelchair, with two full time care assistants a college course for further education seemed an almost crazy idea. However I had overcome my accident and I now felt ready for another challenge.

I approached the college to join the BA Design course. With my school qualifications and my previous work portfolio they accepted my challenge and enrolled me on the course. Access at the college was the first obstacle. The main student work area was upstairs with no lift! However nearly all my work would be done at home on my own computer. All other seminars, main lectures and group student work could be done downstairs. Other areas such as library, main lecture theatre and canteens did have good access.

Three years into the course during April I developed pneumonia. Around that time I started to feel very drowsy during lectures and course work. I didn't know I had pneumonia but I thought that falling asleep in lectures shouldn't be this bad! In May I suffered a collapsed lung. Rushed to my Spinal Unit at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in London I spent one week in intensive care with three weeks of further treatment. That was the early start of my summer break.

By September I had recovered and was determined to finish the course. Now it's summer 98 and I achieved what I set out to do. My family have been a great help with my wife Janet always being there to encourage me on those cold rainy days when it would have been easier to miss a lecture.

Now four years on I am so pleased that I had that crazy idea.

Colchester Institute

Caters for disabled Students, http://www.colchester.ac.uk