SIX-and-a-half years of hard work have paid off for a Hereford man, who graduated from Open University with a degree in humanities.

Bert Davies, of Whitehorse Road, spent most of his spare time hitting the books 'to do something he had always wanted to do but never had the opportunity'.

Mr Davies, who had to cope with bereavement after the death of his wife, Joy, said: "My only regret is that she is not here to see me graduate. It is truly a huge regret that she can't be here."

Mr Davies, aged 65, runs supportive lodgings providing long-term full board accommodation for people with learning difficulties.

Prior to that he ran the Balloon Display Company and Party Shop in Union Street - a business now in the capable hands of his daughter, Susan.

Now with a BA (Hons) in Humanities Mr Davies hopes, first of all, to 'wallow in the lack of pressure of not having to open a book'.

But his new found freedom would not deter him from undertaking a Masters degree at some point in the future.

"When I finally finished I said no way, not ever, but I'm softening to going back into education in the future.

"I would certainly recommend it because I found it so wonderfully fulfilling. It has broadened my horizons. It has been a really worthwhile experience."