Whaley Bridge mum and daughter celebrate double graduation

Mother and daughter Chris and Anika Drews, who graduated in the same subject on the same day from the University of Derby. L-R Anika and Chris.
Mother and daughter Chris and Anika Drews, who graduated in the same subject on the same day from the University of Derby. L-R Anika and Chris.

A mother and daughter from Whaley Bridge are looking forward to graduation after taking top honours on a pioneering university degree.

Mum Chris Drews and her daughter Anika studied together on a BSc Ecotourism degree at the University of Derby’s Buxton Campus.

Anika, 34, knew her mum shared her interest in the countryside, so when she signed up for the course, she suggested Chris do the same.

Chris, now 56, left school at 16 and never studied beyond O-levels, but was getting more satisfaction from organising a Peak District walking group than her stifling job.

She said: “I had no concept of what going to university meant, so to end up with first class honours is quite overwhelming.

“The chance to do this was like a gift from the gods– a golden opportunity. Now, opportunities are opening for me which I never would have had before.”

Anika, who juggled her studies with being a mum of four, achieved a 2:1 and said: “It’s been a struggle, but the university is like a family. They adapt themselves to everyone, and make so much time for you, it’s like you’re the only person in the world.”

“The change in mum is wonderful to see, she’s really thrown herself into it. Sometimes I was at home with the children,and she was out with the other and students. I thought: there’s something wrong with this picture.”

The ecotourism course was the first ever in Europe, and has now been integrated into the university’s main tourism degrees as green concerns rapidly move towards the top of tourists’ priorities.

Chris is now looking to a new career and said: “We have no one coordinating ecotourism in the UK. It’s bizarre, especially in the Peak District, our most loved national park.”

To find out more about studying tourism at Derby, visit http://bit.ly/2fhmeLm.