His son Tomas and daughter Karen arranged the occasion as a surprise for their father after a late-night conversation revealed that his main regret in life was not being able to officially celebrate his achievement.
Tomas secretly contacted the University and on his father’s birthday presented him with an email agreeing that he could formally graduate with the rest of the University’s students in 2012.
“Although I had seen my children and my partner, Sue, graduate, I did regret not having formally done so myself,” said Mr Duckling. “I was moved to tears when I saw what my children had organised. It had never occurred to me that this would be possible. I cannot believe my luck. I was almost certainly one of the oldest graduates at the ceremony, but I was as proud as any of them and particularly proud of my two children, who made this possible.”
During his career, Mr Duckling started as a process engineer at M W Kellogg, eventually becoming Manager of Design Engineering and also running the instruments and electrical departments at various times, before moving into computer uses in engineering, finishing his career after 43 years with the same company as a Project Information Manager.
He attended the ceremony with his partner, Sue Feltham, children Tomas and Karen and former wife Diana. He has lived in Watford for 35 years, having moved there when the company relocated, and is 67 years old.
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