A HAGLEY mum has been named student of the year at a prestigious Worcestershire arts college after spending 30 years as a physiotherapist in the NHS.

Suzanne Nicholl, a mum-of-three, received the award after completing a one-year Access to Higher Education in Art and Design course at Malvern Hills College.

The 53-year-old still works as a physiotherapist across the West Midlands but after leaving the NHS three-and-half-years ago she decided to pursue her passion for art.

After visiting the Malvern Hills College summer school she was inspired to sign-up for the access to higher education course.

Now, Suzanne plans to continue her education in art and hopes to soon be able to show her work at exhibitions around the country.

As well as being named 2019/20 Student of the Year for Malvern Hills College, she was also honoured as Malvern School of Arts Student of the Year.

Suzanne, who lives with her husband David - a campaigning doctor and human rights activist - and their three children Isobel, Jose and Jake, says she was surprised to win the award and couldn’t wait to tell her family.

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She said: “I was thrilled but surprised. It was great to be able to tell the kids I had won an award such as this.

“When I first visited Malvern Hills College I fell in love with it, it has an amazing feel when you walk through the doors and you get to work with experts as tutors too.

“Despite being a mature student, my age wasn’t a barrier. I worked alongside great students who were my children’s age and it was fascinating to see what my kids still experience today in education from a different perspective to normal.

“I remember the very first lesson thinking I’m never going to do this. But it was all about learning those skills and accepting it would take time.

“I’d like to thank the college and my fabulous family, I couldn’t have done it without them cheering me on and sending me off in the mornings. They thought it was hilarious that I was a student all filled with excitement going off to college.

“I’m still learning and plan to keep doing so, with the end goal of being an exhibiting artist and starting to sell my works.”

Brian Gorst, tutor at Malvern Hills College, said: “In many ways Suzanne typifies the students who are drawn to take on the challenge of the access to HE course.

“She has attained an exceptional level of achievement over the last nine months and has gained top marks with well-presented, thorough researched and thoughtful work.

“These high standards have been the result of much effort and a willingness to challenge herself at every opportunity.

“It has been a pleasure to have Suzanne at the college. We would like to congratulate her on winning the award and wish her all the best as she looks to continue her venture into art.”