September 30th, 2016

Alvechurch woman ditches legal career to help children in Ghana

Alvechurch woman ditches legal career to help children in Ghana Alvechurch woman ditches legal career to help children in Ghana
A way with words: Julie is off to teach in Africa before helping young adults back in the UK. Picture by Marcus Mingins
Updated: 3:58 pm, Apr 01, 2016

AN ALVECHURCH woman who threw in her career as a solicitor to do a teaching course to try and improve the life chances of young offenders is jetting off to Ghana to help children learn English.

Julie Turley – a mother of six and grandmother to another six – is currently studying for a post-graduate diploma in education at the University of Warwick and is currently placed as a trainee teacher at Heart of Worcestershire College.

“I never thought I would be undertaking such a challenge at the age of 52 but I am very excited about it,” said Julie, who had her family first and has worked as a florist and taxi driver before embarking on life as a legal eagle.

“I went to the University of Birmingham to do my law degree when I was 38.

“I think it’s never too late to do anything – you never feel any older inside and your brain doesn’t go wrinkly.”

However it was while she was working as a solicitor, and getting involved with the homeless charity St Basil’s, that she realised how important education was in getting people the best possible start in life.

“The lack of education in some young people is a real stumbling block for them; they may have messed around in school, they may have been down on their luck, and I thought here was an opportunity to do something about it,” she said.

She duly applied for a course to learn to teach at further education level and has now been offered the chance to teach in Ghana for four weeks, with classes up to 120 strong.

“I’m the oldest swinger in town on the course which is fine by me and I can’t wait to go,” said Julie.

And what of her family? “They’re kind of used to me doing something a little less ordinary but I think my partner Peter thought I’d pushed the boat out a bit far this time, but they’re right behind me.

“I feel I’m a very lucky lady and I hope my grandchildren will follow in my footsteps.”

To help fund her trip Julie has pledged to raise £1,000 by June 24 and has set up a Just Giving page at

She will also be holding a quiz night at the Alvechurch Social Club on May 28 from 7pm.