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Love of horses provides academic inspiration

12 December 2013

Rachel Atkinson

Kate Livesey is celebrating after graduating from a Masters by Research

A Leyland student used her love of horses as the inspiration for her postgraduate study and proved her critics wrong at the same time.

Kate Livesey donned her cap and gown this week as she celebrated graduating with a Masters by Research from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan).

The 26-year-old left high school with no qualifications but was determined to succeed in the academic world. She studied at Myerscough College and, through UCLan, graduated with a First class degree in BSc (Hons) Machinery Management and Logistics.

With her life spent with her horses, she had a strong interest in agricultural history and wanted to pursue this further. She was offered a UCLan scholarship and spent her time researching the shift from horses to tractors in the immediate period after World War II.

“I’m addicted to the buzz of it all and would like to carry on doing my PhD. It feels good to finally finish but it was such a big part of my life that there now seems to be a gap missing.”

Kate said: “I had the privilege of travelling up and down the country interviewing people about their memories in agriculture and being on their farms. I also have to thank the Farmers Guardian as they allowed me to do research and go through their archive. They also put in an appeal for photographs and I received more than 300 plus responses and now have an album full of pictures throughout the history of farming, which I hopefully would like to get published someday.”

Her time at UCLan was tinged with sadness however as her father passed away just before her viva was due. This proved to be a difficult time for her and her family but she was determined to not let it affect her studies.

Whilst undertaking her MA she also completed a teaching certificate at UCLan. Alongside all this, she worked, and stills works, at Myerscough as the assistant head in agriculture mechanisation.

She said: “Balancing my working life whilst studying was difficult at times as I was working 100 plus hours a week. But I’m addicted to the buzz of it all and would like to carry on doing my PhD. It feels good to finally finish but it was such a big part of my life that there now seems to be a gap missing.”

Kate was among 1,500 students who graduated during the winter ceremonies in Preston’s Guild Hall this week.