TWO Bradford College students have proved to be a first class couple by both graduating with first class honours from its University Centre.

Michael and Christine Hustler, from Clayton Heights, scored the top grades in BA (Hons) degrees in Social Nutrition and Health, and both graduated yesterday.

Their achievement is all the more remarkable considering that during their degrees the couple got married, had two children, moved house and held down full-time jobs – and in Michael’s case changed jobs.

The effort proved worth it, as the couple were joined by family – including 18-month-old Emily and five-month-old Isla – and friends at their graduation ceremony in Bradford’s Life Church yesterday.

Mr Hustler, 31, an exercise referral officer, said: “We both started the degree as we thought we had time on our hands and that it would benefit us both in progressing in our respective fields. Little did we know of the huge changes that were ahead.

“At times we both struggled with deadlines looming, however we both knew that giving up wasn’t an option considering we had invested some much time and effort.

“Getting married helped make us stronger by being able to share this experience with each other.

“Christine has done an amazing job considering she has been pregnant for almost all of the time through this course. Maternity leave has helped her with having some extra time to complete her studies and her parents have played a vital role in allowing us to have some time to concentrate on our studies.”

Also graduating was supermum Paige Rogers who completed a Foundation Degree in Early Years while working and caring for her four children and stepson.

The 27-year-old from Bradford has four children, aged 10, eight, five and two, a stepson and a job in a school but somehow managed to find time to study for the degree she hopes will help her reach her goal of being a teacher.

Paige, who has now started a BA (Hons) degree at the college, said: “I was working in early years and ran my own business for six years and then realised that to get paid more I needed to get qualifications so I decided to come and do a degree.

“It has been very hard work. There have been ups and downs but it is also very rewarding. I have no regrets about coming back into education. It opens your eyes, broadens your horizons and it is great to pick up knowledge and new skills. It is also good to show my children the value of education.”

A total of four ceremonies are being held over two days at the centre. The college is awarding 435 bachelor degrees, of which 14 per cent are first.

And 176 postgraduate awards are being awarded, of which 14 per cent are distinctions.