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From Hackney to Oxford: Man starts Oxford university after £30,000 crowdfund campaign

MOVING UP: Roy Celaire

A FORMER Hackney resident who was crowdfunding to go to a Oxford, has announced that he has officially started at the prestigious university.

Roy Celaire, started his crowdfunding campaign in August 2018. The Londoner shared his story, growing up in inner-city London, where he faced mental health struggles, abandonment and homelessness at a young age.

"My mum struggled as a single mother to raise myself and my two siblings," Roy wrote on his GoFundMe page. "For secondary school, I went to Homerton College of Technology, a failing boys’ school which was subsequently closed down due to incredibly low attainment, gangs and violence.

"Then, in 2004, my mum's mental health deteriorated and when I was just 16 she stopped talking to me completely and then at 17 she threw me out, leaving me to fend for myself and we have been estranged since then.

"I was homeless for a while, sleeping on friends floors and then housed in a succession of hostels, some really bad, before ending up in The Brentwood Foyer in Brentwood Essex. A year later, I was one of few people - due to being trouble free, paying rent on time, working and going to sixth form - to be put forward for a ‘moving on’ flat, and this is where I live now. Nonetheless I kept going to Sixth Form College in West London throughout all of this and got some A Levels."

Roy shared that his life began to turn around as he became the first person in his family to go to university. "I was the first in my family to go to university and was accepted at The University of Southampton to read Sociology and Social Policy. I really enjoyed it but the pressures of finance, and commuting from Essex to Southampton every day and then paying to live there just took its toll and I left after my first year."

In 2010, he received an offer to go to Brunel University as a mature student and got a 2:1 in Anthropology and Sociology. A year later Roy attended the London School of Economics, where he both studied and worked full time and ended up gaining a merit.

"I was having to work 50-60 hours a week just to keep myself and pay my rent as well as studying. Somehow I managed to graduate with a Merit but when I told my tutors that I had worked full time throughout the degree they were stunned."

During his studies at the London School of Economics, he discovered his desire to become an academic anthropologist. To do this, he needed to continue his studies - which soon came true as he was accepted to Oxford University in March 2017.

"However, that’s where my luck ran out. Ever since Oxford accepted me, I have struggled to raise the money they say I must have in place before they will admit me completely."

From there, Roy launched his GoFundMe page, which has seen amass of support and he recently reached his £30,000 goal and has officially been accepted and attending Oxford University.

Speaking to The Voice, Roy said: "It feels great to have finally made it to Oxford, I thought that it wouldn’t happen, and it wasn’t because I didn’t have the grades, but rather, because I did not have the capital.

"Society’s tacit rule is that people like me, with all the preceding circumstances that I have endured, are not supposed to be at places like Oxford, and it has been a difficult ride getting here. I am extremely thankful to all those who have donated and supported me, particularly Jon Blair CBE and Professor Mary Beard of Cambridge University. Thank you all dearly."

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