A local business owner and parish councillor is encouraging anyone who is passionate about a subject to study it for enjoyment, stressing that age is no barrier when striving to attain a qualification.

Dotty King, who runs Dot Teas baking business and Tavistock Market Wholefoods in the Pannier Market and serves on Bere Ferrers Parish Council, studied for an English Literature A-Level qualification three times after graduating university, purely because of her love for the subject.

Dotty said: ‘I love writers like Thomas Hardy, Mary Shelley, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen. Even today their work continues to be adapted, like you see now with Great Expectations featuring Olivia Colman. If you only watch a film or tv series but never read the book or books on which they’re based, you’re really missing out. I got to study different texts each time and was lucky to have covered my favourite authors.’

Dotty originally studied for a degree in Japanese manufacturing and business studies and it was during this time that she says she learned to write properly as it was not possible to write in the form of first person.

Dotty said: ‘I’ve always been a voracious reader, I moved onto reading about magic, such as Tolkein — I think he’s the most amazing writer, he’s so descriptive. I certainly accept Harry Potter too. It’s amazing how a book can really absorb you, you can fall into it and become a part of that world from the moment you open it.’

Dotty’s shop contains many references to Harry Potter, showing signs for Diagon Alley and Platform 9 and 3/4. All of the suitcases on the top shelf are designed to look as though they are on a train heading to Hogwarts.

Dotty has also stressed that whilst publishing companies can target books towards a certain demographic, they can be enjoyed by anyone. She has passed her love of reading and literature onto her son George, who is 22 and currently studying Latin and French in America.

Dotty said: ‘I’d love to study again but I’d struggle to find the time now. I studied for the qualifications at evening classes, which I’m a huge supporter of. Once upon a time, you could do them at Tavistock College which is where I did one of them but this was over 20 years ago.

‘You’re more likely to get top grades when you’re older because you really want them. You aren’t studying for these qualifications just to make it through school to progress to university or get a specific job. I was surrounded by older people like myself, it was just people who had a love of books. I wanted to read more and understand more about the writers. It’s the same with any subject you can study when you’re older, you do it because you love it. For anyone who is hesitant or doubtful about studying what you love — just do it! You’re really never too old.’