FEATURE: Stevenage woman Betty Game's bounty for adult education

PUBLISHED: 15:05 19 April 2015

Betty Game at her graduation.

Betty Game at her graduation.

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When Betty Game was dying in hospital she looked back over her life and told her friend Margaret Ashby that graduating from university in her 50s was one of her happiest moments.

Betty Game Opportunities Trust trustees Roger Hardman, Margaret Ashby and councillor Sharon Taylor.Betty Game Opportunities Trust trustees Roger Hardman, Margaret Ashby and councillor Sharon Taylor.

And now, thanks to Betty and her friends, more than 60 Stevenage students have been able to head back to the classroom as adults.

After Betty lost her battle to cancer in 2009, Margaret and five of Betty’s friends got together to form a trust to help honour her memory.

The Betty Game Opportunities Trust was founded in 2009 and last year handed out 35 grants totalling £5,815 to Stevenage adults studying part-time.

Margaret said: “When she was dying of cancer I visited her in hospital and she told me how graduating was one of the happiest moments of her life. And after she died she left about £8,000 and I thought if we could just help other people achieve what she had achieved I would like to do it.”

Born in 1925, Betty lived in Stevenage her entire life and loved learning but was denied the chance to go to college and university after leaving school at 14.

When she was in her 50s she gained a degree through the Open University.

Most of the cash grants are used to help fund course materials or computers and applicants must apply with two references.

Preference is given to those studying at the Open University, as Betty did.

Councillor Sharon Taylor, a trustee, said: “I knew her for many years and she was a great friend.

“I didn’t go off to college or university when I was 18 and went back to do my degree in my 30s so I know how hard it can be.

“I know from my own experiences that I used to be trying to cook the tea for the family and trying to write an essay at the same time – it is not easy.”

The charitable trust gives out small grants to students to help them fund their part-time studies.

Prospective applicants must live in the SG1 or SG2 postcode and not be eligible for any other kind of higher education grant.

Fellow trustee Roger Hardman added: “If you are really struggling than £250 is the difference between being able to carry on a course or not.

“But it is clear that there is a need to help people in Stevenage aspiring to better themselves through education.”

The charity’s trustees are now seeking volunteers to help them with fundraising and social media.

To find out more visit www.bgot.org.uk or search for The Betty Game Opportunities Trust on Facebook.

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