Mother Dawn Bowers, who studied for a degree while bringing up three children, has been named national radiography student of the year.

Mrs Bowers, 44, gave up her administration job at Zurich Insurance four years ago to study radiotherapy and oncology at the University of the West of England.

She graduated with first class honours and, last Thursday, heard that she had won the national award which will be presented to her in the House of Commons in November.

“It is absolutely fantastic,” said Mrs Bowers, who lives in Sutton Benger. “I am over the moon because I really did work hard for four years.”

Mrs Bowers became interested in radiotherapy after attending a convention at school, but never had a chance to follow her dream.

It was not until she turned 40 that she made the decision to return to the classroom, while also bringing up Katie, now 16, Alex, 14, and Amy, 11.

“The children were growing up, and it seemed the right time to do it,” she said.

“It was a lot of hard work, and it really was full time but I absolutely loved it.”

Mrs Bowers was supported by husband Nick, a prison officer at Erlestoke, and her own mother Alice James.

Mr Bowers described his wife as “very brave” and said: “It was quite a big move because she had to go back to do the foundation year as well, which was quite hard.”

Mrs Bowers is now working in the oncology department at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, a job which sees her leave home at 6.30am and return at 7pm.