Inspirational: Anne Marie celebrates graduation

Graduation is a special occasion for any family. But for the Goodreids, this year’s School of Legal Studies ceremony had extra significance.
 
Anne-Marie Goodreid was working as a trainee Solicitor when she was involved in a serious car crash 10 years ago. Anne-Marie sustained severe brain injuries and memory loss as a result of the accident. The prognosis was not good, but her recovery was more successful than the doctors had ever hoped. Despite this, her career as a Solicitor was ruined.
 
Anne-Marie had completed the Common Professional Examination, the Legal Practice Course and LLM at the University of Wolverhampton between 1994 and 1998. Her parents were determined to help her move on from the accident. Through perseverance and commitment, Anne-Marie overcame several barriers to return to the University in September 2003 to study on an undergraduate degree for a second time.
 
But this time, Anne-Marie wasn’t alone. Her Mum Norah attended the Law lectures with her to act as her ‘memory’, as one of the major side effects of the accident was an inability to remember information. Dad John also supported their academic endeavours, driving the pair to lectures during their four and a half years with the School.
 
The University was able to adapt a programme for the Goodreids that did not involve modules assessed by examination, as it would be difficult for Anne-Marie to store and recall the information. In September 2008, almost exactly 10 years after the accident, Anne-Marie and her mum both graduated from the School of Legal Studies with a unique BA (Hons) Studies in Law in recognition of their inspirational achievement.
 
Mrs Goodreid, who previously worked as a teacher, explained that Anne-Marie had returned to University as she needed intellectual stimulation. Able to remember her childhood and everything up until about three months before the accident, Anne-Marie struggles with new information and needed her mum’s support with noting down important chapters in books.
 
“Anne-Marie has done exceptionally well and tried so hard – the biggest obstacle is the tiredness. Anne-Marie needs a framework in place that she can follow, and it is a case of knowing the person,” Mrs Goodreid says.
 
She adds the School of Legal Studies lecturers were ‘super’. The pair were able to choose modules that Anne-Marie could do at her own rate and did not involve exams, as the tension in the exam room would be enough to tire out Anne-Marie before it even started.
 
“She won’t give up, she is very determined. Anne-Marie has to rely on her past memory because she does not have current. It is a case of retraining her memory. It is a very slow process and a long grind but I can see there is memory there, and that is something to build up.
 
“You do this for your children – it is nothing marvellous. You love your kids and want the best for them. Anne-Marie has done very well and I am very pleased – she is pleased too.”
 
Phil Whittingham, School Manager (Administration), got to know the family very well, as Anne-Marie helps out in the School Office for half a day each week as part of her ongoing rehabilitation.
 
He was delighted to see them both graduate during the ceremony at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.
 
“Anne-Marie, Norah and John are an absolutely delightful family. The support that Norah and John have given Anne-Marie has been fantastic and Anne-Marie's determination to succeed is remarkable,“ he says.
 
“The School looked on with immense pride when first Anne-Marie and then Norah walked across the stage to accept their Awards.”
 
Dean of the School of Legal Studies, Brian Mitchell, also paid tribute to their hard work and determination.
 
“This is an incredible achievement, and everyone within the School was very proud when Anne-Marie and Norah collected their degree transcripts at the graduation ceremony,” Mr Mitchell says. “Anne-Marie has overcome huge hurdles and her graduation is testament to her exemplary attitude and the fantastic support received from her family.”
 
For information about the School of Legal Studies, visit: www.wlv.ac.uk/sls  For other information, email: wlvdialogue@wlv.ac.uk