July 20, 2016, by Emma Thorne

Proud father in his 100th year attends researcher’s graduation day

A very special guest accompanied University of Nottingham researcher Jane Horne to her graduation ceremony when she was awarded her doctorate this week.

Jane’s proud father Joe Tunney is in his 100th year — due to celebrate his centenary in January — was among the audience who watched his daughter graduate with a PhD in Stroke Rehabilitation on Tuesday July 19.

Dr Horne said: “Dad is probably a little older than many of the other parents who were in the audience on that day but he was every bit as proud.

“This means such a lot to me and having my dad there to see it was the icing on the cake. He is so very proud of what I have achieved and tells anyone who will listen that soon we have a doctor in the family!”

Joe added: “All credit to Jane my youngest who has worked so hard to get to where she is.  She has always been funny and good company. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to still be here to celebrate with her at her graduation!”

Jane, who works as a research occupational therapist in the University’s Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing, found academic studies at school a struggle due to her undiagnosed dyslexia and left full-time education with just a handful of qualifications.

Despite this, she worked hard to develop a career as an administrative manager for the charity sector with organisations including Oxfam and Childline before deciding she fancied a change of direction.

After choosing to re-train, she also took the decision to start a family with husband Barry, leaving Northampton University in 2003 not just with a BSc in Occupational Therapy but also two young sons, Joe and Liam.

Missed graduation – first time around

Unfortunately, her parents were travelling in the United States at the time and were unable to attend the graduation ceremony for her first degree, something which Jane and dad Joe have always regretted.

After a period of time working as an occupational therapist at Nottingham University Hospitals’ Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital, Jane was offered the opportunity to join the research team led by Professor Pip Logan in 2009, working on the Getting Out of the House project which looked at the impact of occupational therapy interventions on patient recovery and independence following a stroke.

Three years ago she began studying for her PhD which has centred on the development of a new measure for assessing the confidence levels of people who have experienced stroke, funded with a fellowship from the charity the Stroke Association.

 In a tragic coincidence, while Jane was working on her project, writing up her findings from her research, her mother Teresa suffered a massive stroke from which she never recovered passing away nine months later in August 2014.

Jane added: “Mum was my inspiration, kind and generous with a love of retail therapy! In addition to raising five children she was a nurse by profession. Love, laughter and compassion were the things she considered important — I will endeavour to follow in her footsteps!”

At the age of 99 years old, Joe lives independently in West Bridgford, is fit and healthy and still enjoys a good game of golf.

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