Learner award for Ruby, 79

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A FORMER senior council officer has won a prestigious award after she set up in business at the age 78.

Ruby Marshall, now 79, won a regional senior learner award at the North-East Adult Learners Week regional award ceremony at Durham Cathedral.

It came after Ruby earned a masters degree, set up a successful company and became its chief executive all within the space of 12 months.

Ruby’s daughter Angela Brown, who is chief executive of Training in Childcare, nominated her mum for the award.

Angela said: “She’s a fantastic example to volunteers. She shows there’s not such a thing as age any more, anyone can take up learning.”

Ruby, from the West Park area of Hartlepool, retired as assistant director of social services at Hartlepool Borough Council in 1996, and immediately began volunteering and chairing various charity groups.

She was honoured with an MBE after devoting a lifetime to working with families and children and she took on a senior role with Hartlepool Carers voluntary group where she is chairman.

She created the North-East Social Care Advisors Community Interest Company (CIC) alongside law students and a business tutor at Northumbria University, and transformed the struggling charity into a fully fledged CIC, where she is the acting chief executive.

The group meets six times a year and is made up of volunteers who access social or health care services and their carers.

She was given the accolade during the ceremony held as part of the 20th Adult Learners’ Week this week.

She said: “It was a nice day, I didn’t expect the award.

“I don’t look for recognition, but it’s still nice to be appreciated.”

Alan Tuckett, chief executive of the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, said: “The transformation that Ruby has experienced is due to her dedication, persistence and ambition.

“I hope that adults from across the country will be inspired to take up learning by Ruby’s story.”