62-year-old Hamptonian heads to Cambridge

Academic

Martin Carter joined the First Year at Hampton Grammar School in 1970 after passing his 11 Plus Examination but didn’t excel academically at the time and failed his French Language O Level. He recalls comments such as ‘could do better’ on many of his school reports.

After leaving school at the age of 16, Martin tried his hand as an apprentice engineer and on the London buses but always knew that he had unfulfilled potential so enrolled on a degree course at the age of 22 and eventually entered the accountancy profession – running his own Chartered Accountancy company for 22 years.

Throughout his working life, Martin maintained a love of languages – and undeterred by his earlier French O Level result, decided to study for an A Level in the language and achieved an A which was followed by an A* in Italian some years later. At this point Martin began to seriously consider returning to university to study the subjects he loved in more depth, and on a whim applied to Wolfson College at the University of Cambridge. To his immense surprise he received an offer, on condition that he achieved an A* in Spanish. This morning on Results Day, at the age of 62, he was delighted to learn that he had indeed been awarded an A* in Spanish confirming his place to read for a degree in French and Italian at Cambridge.

Martin and his wife Wendy are now moving to Cambridge in time for the Autumn term. Martin says he is a little apprehensive but also very excited at this new chapter in his life

Receiving the offer to go to Cambridge was a fantastic boost to my confidence! I didn’t really expect it to be frank. I am on a WhatsApp group chat with other offer-holders and for the past six months 90 of us (89 17 and 18 year olds, and one 62 year old!) have been sharing our stories. Everyone has been so welcoming and I’m looking forward to trying to prove myself with all these whizz kids! And I’m also looking forward to getting involved with the Footlights. If they need an old man for a part in the panto, they have the real thing in me!