A delighted Mr Watkin on graduation day / @MartinTideswell via Twitter

Mr Watkin even spent a semester studying in Ohio and stayed in the student halls on campus

After four years at university – which included sitting exams, a semester abroad in the US and a stint in student halls – a pensioner has finally graduated with a 2:1 degree.

73-year-old Gerry Watkin, from Nantwich in Cheshire, collected his certificate from Staffordshire’s Keele University following a “challenging six months.”

Speaking with The Sentinel, Mr Watkin described how his dissertation, essays and exams had cranked-up the pressure recently but that he “thoroughly enjoyed” studying for his degree in history and American studies.

Having left Wolstanton Grammar School in Staffordshire as a teen, Mr Watkin’s parents encouraged him to find work after his A-levels instead of pursuing his hopes of university – something, he said, he’d always resented.

He went on to work as a bank manager for 30 years, and as a football referee, before finally deciding to apply at Keele, beginning as a fresher in 2011.

Ohio's Bowling Green State University where Mr Watkin spent a semester studying (Bowling Green State University via Facebook)

The undergraduate quickly settled into life as a student as he’s always had a thirst for learning and loves history, he told The Sentinel.

Over the course of his studies, Mr Watkin took advantage of a study-abroad option and even spent a semester at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University in America where he rolled-up his sleeves to immerse himself into the student way of life to stay in the student halls – and even frequenting the bar in the on-campus students’ union.

While most graduates at the ceremony had their parents cheering them on, Mr Watkin had his proud daughter, 44-year-old Rachel Carter, a Keele University graduate herself, in the crowd who said it was inspiring that a man of her father’s age could go to – and complete – university.

Post-graduate life will see Mr Watkin take a well-earned break, although he said some have been telling him to gear-up for a master’s degree next.

Whatever he chooses, we wish him the best of luck.