More MS news articles for Oct 2001

Open eye: Opening up: Lynne Noble

Oct 2, 2001
The Independent - United Kingdom

Ill-health prevented Lynne Noble from taking more than a couple of O-levels. In the year she was finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, her eldest son committed suicide. Her condition forced her to give up work. But, her confidence restored with the help of her third husband, Lynne now has 14 GCSEs, two A-levels, a BSc and a Masters degree and is about to begin studying for a doctorate. She says the OU is her salvation.

What made you start studying with the Open University?

I got my GCSEs and A-levels while working in a nursing home and did wonder about getting a degree, but I was too shy - although no one believes that now. The OU suited me immediately because I've never been able to study as part of a group. When I did my GCSEs I used to sit at the back and follow the syllabus on my own instead of listening to the teacher. My MS was not so much of a problem then but as it has advanced, it's been much easier to study at home than arrange to get myself to another university.

What have you achieved?

Since I began, I've earned a BSc, a Diploma in Applied Social Sciences and an Advanced Diploma in Applied Learning Difficulties through the OU. I also achieved a lecturing certificate, a CertEd and a Certificate for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, with Huddersfield University, near where I live in Almondsbury. Last year I took the Diploma of Nutritional Medicine at Rusland College and I graduated in June with a Masters in Education.

Are you studying at the moment?

I'm halfway through a Diploma in Health and Social Welfare and am about to begin my Doctorate of Education. I can't stop learning - it's like a drug and I get withdrawal symptoms if I decide to have a break.

What is your current occupation?

Having multiple sclerosis means it's difficult to hold down a job with regular hours. I have just recovered from a 14-month relapse - my longest yet - and have also recently been diagnosed with a degenerative spine condition. It's difficult to get a job because an employer expects you to be there. However, I am teaching my niece, who has Asperger's Syndrome, and sometimes my two grandchildren.

What does your family make of all this?

I do try to convert them. My husband is considering taking his doctorate and one of my sons has also begun an OU course. I've fostered 18 children and adopted my youngest son when he was eight. He's now 15 and when he was 11 he found school too slow, so I've taught him at home since then. He passed with distinction two adult education IT courses when he was 13 and got the highest mark in town in the intermediate maths exam at 14. This year, his pre-GCSE year, he took double science, double English and IT and he also speaks several languages - including some Cantonese. He likes learning too!

What difference has the OU made to your life?

The OU is brilliant - I can't praise it enough. It gave me so much confidence and without it I really couldn't have achieved what I have. It has enabled me to study in many ways - allowing someone to write for me, letting me do exams at home and always having someone on the end of the phone who really did get back to me if they said they would.

What advice would you have for other would-be students?

Be determined and don't let anything beat you. So many adults forget how to sit and look, read or listen to music. If you make the most of every minute, you learn to enjoy life in a different way.