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Waterfoot student beats dyslexia to gain PhD
A DETERMINED Waterfoot man has beaten his struggle with dyslexia to land a top doctorate.
Andrew Watts, 29, has received his PhD in Marine and Freshwater Ecology and Environmental Management from Glasgow University.
The former Fearns Community Sports College pupil was first diagnosed with the learning disorder as a six-year old when he attended Waterfoot County Primary School.
His mum Caroline said it was Fearns who gave Andrew the belief in himself to further his studies.
She said: “Fearns bent over backwards to help Andrew and anything he needed they got for him.
"The school supported him from the moment he started and he came out with eight GCSEs.”
Andrew, who used to deliver the Lancashire Telegraph when he worked for his parents’ newsagents Watts’ News, in Burnley Road East, went on to gain four A-levels in the sixth form at Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School.
He went on to earn an undergraduate degree in Applied Ecology from Staffordshire University, where he fulfilled roles including students’ union disabilities officer, educational welfare officer and president.
During his studies he spent a fortnight in Indonesia at the Wakatobi Marine National Park researching coral reefs. He moved back to Rossendale and worked two jobs to fund a one year masters degree in Marine Biology at Glasgow University, where he spent time collecting crab specimens at a bird sanctuary on the Isle of May, off the east coast of Scotland.
Andrew is currently working with Glasgow University, helping them write scientific reports.
He said: “I would like to thank all the staff at Fearns for their part in making my doctorate possible and would encourage them to keep believing in their students, even those who have learning difficulties like me."