A MATURE student has urged pupils not to give up if they leave school without the exam grades they hoped for.

Roger Johnson has graduated from Loughborough University with a master’s degree at the age of 56.

The father of two grown-up children has confounded the opinion of his teachers at school that he would never amount to anything academically with his MSc degree in health and safety.

Mr Johnson, of Wellington Drive, Devizes, said: “I was born in Devizes in 1956 and when I was at school I achieved at sports but under-achieved in academic subjects. I was told by several of my teachers at Devizes School that ‘you will not achieve much in life’.

“With this damning report ringing in my ears, I joined the Royal Navy as an electrical mechanic and, after successfully completing the course with top marks for my class, I progressed throughout my naval career and became a Chief Petty Officer Weapons Electrical Artificer with an HNC in electronic and electrical engineering, serving in diesel submarines where I maintained weapon system computers.”

Mr Johnson, who works for the Greensquare Group in Chippenham, left the Navy in 1993 and embarked on a new career in health and safety, culminating in his master’s degree.

Mr Johnson says he is aware some people never recover from negative comments during their school career and has urged them to keep trying.