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The Sheffield College

Degree Student Makes Headlines Discovering Yorkshire’s ‘Cowgirl Granny’

Updated: 17/11/2017

Sheffield College student Samantha Devine is making headlines after returning to studying later in life and discovering Yorkshire’s ‘cowgirl granny’.

Degree Student Makes Headlines Discovering Yorkshire’s ‘Cowgirl Granny’

Pictured: Rocky, Yorkshire’s own ‘cowgirl granny’, has been discovered by Sheffield College degree student Samantha Devine. Photo credit: Samantha Devine.

Her photographs of Rocky (pictured) have just featured in the Times and on Sky News as part of a news story about her coursework subject’s unusual lifestyle.

Samantha, aged 46, is completing a BA Honours Degree in Creative Practice at The Sheffield College’s Hillsborough campus on Livesey Street.

Samantha met Rocky one weekend in a café on the Pennine Way in Barnsley after she arrived on horseback to have tea there. Rocky wears a traditional hat, fringe jacket and trousers, and lives a cowgirl lifestyle on a ranch, tending to horses and sleeping under the stars when she can.

“At the time,” said Samantha, “I was looking for a subject for my course portrait practice and immediately recognised that Rocky would be a great subject. I arranged to visit her at her ranch and spent a few hours taking photographs.”

The next day, Samantha shared them on Facebook and a contact for the Yorkshire-based news agency Guzelian got in touch to see if she would take some more for a news story for the Times. She said: “I was absolutely over the moon about my work being published in the Times. It felt a bit surreal.

To read more (behind the pay wall) visit https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/the-good-the-bad-and-god-s-own-county-with-rocky-the-cowgirl-granny-678fbdx7c

Samantha gave up a career in the public sector when a member of her family became seriously ill, so that she could look after them. She used to work for the Department of Work and Pensions in Sheffield and then the children’s services department at Bradford Council in West Yorkshire.

When her relative recovered, she decided she wanted to return to studying and make up for lost time by completing a degree, and even moved to a different part of the city so that she could live closer to the College’s Hillsborough campus to be nearer to the facilities.

She said: “I love the college course. The staff are really knowledgeable and supportive, and the facilities and equipment that we work with are great. It’s really developed my skills as a photographer. My ambition is to specialise in biographical storytelling, and use those skills in a therapeutic way by working with older people and memory enhancement.”

Paul Clarkson, Lecturer, The Sheffield College, said: “Inspirational students such as Samantha demonstrate that it is possible to return to education, develop new skills and change career direction. Our university level courses transform lives through learning. Samantha has shown she is creative, talented and hard working, and deserves every success in her future career.”

The Sheffield College offers full honours degrees, foundation degrees and higher national diplomas and certificates. Students benefit from smaller class sizes, expert support and lower tuition fees, and Hillsborough campus specialises in the creative industries with state-of-the-art equipment.

Around 500 students complete full-time and part-time university level courses at the College, which are recognised by universities, employers and professional bodies. In the latest National Student Survey (NSS), published in August 2017, the College achieved a student satisfaction score of 86% for its university level courses.

This was one of the top performing scores in Yorkshire, and higher than the national average, according to the Higher Education Funding Council for England statistics. To apply for September 2018, click here or call 0114 2602600.