Big Issue seller, 58, fulfills goal of passing GCSEs and plans gap year with dog

A 58-year-old big issue seller in Plymouth became famous after achieving his lifelong dream of passing his maths and English GCSEs.

Clive Rowe was over the moon as he passed his GCSEs with flying colours after achieving a grade 5 for his maths and English GCSE, which is considered a ‘strong pass.’.

The 58-year-old is a well-known face in the port city, and he even gained support online from famous names like footballer Marcus Rashford, who praised Clive for his achievement.

Speaking to the ITV, Clive said: “I've achieved something I couldn't do at school, I couldn't do as a young person and now at the age of 58, I have succeeded in getting two GCSEs and I'm absolutely over the moon, stunned, and I just feel really clever at the moment.

"I'm quite stunned at that actually. It's the culmination of a great deal of hard work and study and it means I'm one of those people who have made it in life.”

Clive now plans to study an access course in creative arts at university after taking a ‘gap year’ with his 11-year-old dog.

He says he couldn’t have done it without Plymouth City College or his Big Issue buyers that had faith in him, and he also thanked his manager Sue Owens who “really helped and inspired him.”

When working to pass his GCSEs, Clive was “excited and a little bit nervous”, but was over the moon with his results.

He wants to encourage other people who are nervous about studying their exams to believe in themselves: "You can do it, it's just one little step at a time.

"You know sometimes I do three steps and fall back two steps, but slowly – keep the dream in your mind and say, 'right in two years time I'll be over that mountain' – and you will get there.

"If I can do it, anybody can do it. Just concentrate, decide that you want to do it and go for it."

You may be able to find Clive outside the Theatre Royal in Plymouth where he often sells his magazine, so be sure to give him a pat on the back for his achievements.

One Twitter user replied to The Big Issue saying: “What an amazing achievement, well done Clive, I always struggled with maths and didn’t do GCSE until I had to before I started teacher training.

"It’s one of those achievements I am most proud of, just like you must feel about yours.”

Another said: “Very well done Clive! That’s the best news I’ve seen today.”

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