A student who took more than a 20-year break from education was chosen out of 25,000 Access Learners to win an award celebrating outstanding academic achievement.

Zoe Harris, from North Hykeham, has been awarded a Keith Fletcher Memorial National Access Prize for Outstanding Academic Achievement.

Now a Biomedical Science student at the University of Lincoln, UK, Zoe had very little background in science when she embarked on the Access to HE course at Grantham College.

She excelled in her studies, showing complete devotion and commitment and was an inspiration to others on the course.

Zoe provided the best exam paper seen by course leaders at the college and undertook an additional ‘self-taught’ unit.

Zoe said: “Grantham College gave me a great start and I am thoroughly enjoying my studies here at the University of Lincoln. It just goes to show it’s never too late to further your education.”

The Keith Fletcher Memorial National Access Prize is an annual event held across England and Wales in memory of Mr Fletcher, who worked tirelessly to promote access to higher education.

This year’s winners were invited to a presentation at the House of Commons, hosted by Nic Dakin, MP.

Each of the successful candidates received a certificate and cheque to help them with their future study.

Zoe was nominated by Jane Brunt, from Grantham College, who said: “The staff team that taught Zoe are immensely proud of her achievements. She has helped other students who have struggled and demonstrated true patience and kindness towards those who needed help.”

Zoe is now in her first year of a Biomedical Science BSc at the University of Lincoln.

Dr Humberto Gutierrez, senior lecturer in the School of Life Sciences, said: “As her personal tutor I am not surprised that Zoe has been given this recognition. She is an extraordinarily dedicated, enthusiastic and committed student. She deserves this and more.”