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Monday 20 January 2020

'He really is living the dream' - First-year law student Tom celebrates his 79th birthday

Tom will be married 50 years next year to Phyllis
Tom will be married 50 years next year to Phyllis

Daire Courtney

It was a college birthday bash with a difference.

Tom Boyle, a first-year law student at Waterford Institute of Technology, celebrated his 79th birthday at the college this week.

Tom, a mature student from Ramsgrange, Co Wexford, described the day as "emotional" and said it's never too late to go back to college.

“I’m a bit emotional, the kindness is overwhelming. From the first day, everyone has been so welcoming. The WIT staff and lecturers are fantastic, I can’t say enough about them,” he said during the celebration.

Tom, who was a taxi driver for more than 20 years, will be married 50 years this June to Phyllis, a retired civil servant.

The couple have six daughters and a son.

Mature student Tom pictured with his classmates
Mature student Tom pictured with his classmates

Phyllis joined Tom at WIT for the birthday celebration.

“He has always said he wanted to go back and I tell him; follow what you want to do. I always support him with what he wants to do. He really is living the dream,” she said.

Tom has been making an impression on students and lecturers alike since starting his course in September.

His neighbour Sarah Daunt Smith, who is studying law with him, said: “Tom is the loveliest, warmest gentleman, who would help anyone out. You might think with younger people there would be a divide, but he brings them all together.”

His course leader Deirdre Adams, who organised the birthday party, said: “Tom sends a really inspirational message to us all.

"He had the imagination to come to college in his late 70s and had the courage to do so.

"We may be the lecturers but we also learn so much from Tom.”

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