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'I thought I had missed out' 87-year-old pensioner learns to read

An illiterate pensioner has learned to read at the ripe age of 87 after was was called a "dunce" while in school.

Ursula Shepherd said her dreams are coming true after she finally started learning how to spell and read. The Devon, England native said she relied on other people to write her cheques and pay her bills all her life.

She has never voted, read a newspaper or written a letter, but recently admitted to her carer that she'd love to learn so she could read romance books from the library.

At present, she can read simple words like cat and run and is working how how to comprehend full sentences.

"When I was at school the teachers didn’t care. I didn’t have any help from them. I would sit with a girl and she was reading but I couldn’t read, so when she turned the pages I turned my page over because I didn’t understand," she said.

"I felt sad because I always wanted to read and they just put me in the corner. I felt like I missed out. If I had opened up a book last year I wouldn’t have understood any of the words, but now I can read quite a bit."

Ursula, a retired factory worker who never married, not hopes that her story will inspire people who were never able to read.

"People say they’re too embarrassed but I would love to help them," she said.

"It feels marvellous. I’m so happy. I think it’s lovely. I’m very much enjoying it so far. It’s never too late."

Online Editors