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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

A real-life 'Peep behind the Scenes...'

Zoah Hedges-Stocks pictured in the Daily Telegraph

A Peep Behind the Scenes

 One of my favourite childhood books
 'A Peep Behind the Scenes,'  is an unforgettable tale of hardship and heartbreak  set in a travelling theatre before the turn of the century.  Published in 1878 it went on to sell 2.5 million copies. So I was thrilled today to read that the wonderfully-named Zoah Hedges-Stocks,  the first traveller to study  at Cambridge University,  graduates this weekend with a first-class honours degree in history.

The twenty-three year old was born into a family of travelling showmen in East Anglia and attended school in Suffolk.  But every summer term she would leave her studies and work on her mother's food van, selling candyfloss to fairgoers. She excelled in her studies and in 2009  was offered a place at the all-female Murray Edwards College, fulfilling a long held dream.

In today's press Zoah says she has never experienced any snobbery about her background, having found everyone really welcoming. 'It has been a lot of hours and a lot of essays,' she adds with modest understatement.

A former editor of the Cambridge Student newspaper, Miss Hedges-Stocks can obviously spot a good story when she sees one.  Which is just as well as I hear she's already begun a career in journalism and been interviewed on Anglia Television.

Meanwhile, browsing their website, I see that famous alumnae from Murray Edwards College include actress Tilda Swinton, TV presenter Claudia Winkleman and writer/comedian Sue Perkins. Interestingly the list also includes Gina Barreca, women's writer, speaker and Professor of Feminist Theory.

Congratulations, Zoah.  Quite an act to follow.

You can find out more about her future plans on


clo said...

We drove past a large traveller site on the A64 today to which 3 year old Millie asked "Is that where we went camping?". "Not quite" I answered to which she replied "No - we didn't take a horse did we mummy?"!!

Guernsey Girl said...

That really made me smile, Clo - I'm beginning to think that the next generation will be far more clever than we are...