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Q&A: Zoah Hedges-Stock

PUBLISHED: 14:34 22 March 2011 | UPDATED: 19:02 20 February 2013

Q&A: Zoah Hedges-Stock

Q&A: Zoah Hedges-Stock

As part of a Suffolk fairground family Zoah Hedges-Stock used to work on the dodgems and candy floss stalls, now she is at Cambridge University and talking about her academic achievments on BBC Radio Four's Woman's Hour

As part of a Suffolk fairground family Zoah Hedges-Stock used to work on the dodgems and candy floss stalls, now she is at Cambridge University and talking about her academic achievments on BBC Radio Fours Womans Hour

You are from a family who work at fairgrounds. Sounds exciting!

My family live in Leiston, near Aldeburgh, in the winter months, and travel around Suffolk and part of Essex with the fair in the summer. It sounds a bit chaotic but in fact, we go to the same places year after year. Considering my family have been in the business for nearly 200 years, that is a lot of repeat visits!

Any amusing tales to tell of your time working at the fairground?

One of the surprising things about being on a fair is the number of celebrities that you get to meet. James Nesbitt, Jane Asher and Prince Andrew have all shown up!

You got into Cambridge University despite having disrupted schooldays. That must be a great example to people.

I hope so. Ive heard of two other people from travelling showman backgrounds applying to Oxbridge since I got in. I doubt whether I had any influence on that but I think by going to Cambridge Ive shown that you dont need to have been to private school or fit a stereotype to do well in life.

You went on Womens Hour to talk about your success....

Yes, I appeared on Radio 4s midweek programme. It was an interesting experience to see how radio programmes get made, but it was quite nerve-wracking. I had no idea what they were going to ask me and the show was live, so I had to think on my feet!

I think you want to be a fashion journalist and you currently edit the universitys magazine

I edit the official university newspaper, The Cambridge Student. I actually started by writing fashion articles but have broadened my interests. One day Im out in the street reporting on protests, the next day I could be doing something more creative, such as writing a magazine feature. It has been a great way to speak to interesting people. A few weeks ago I had to phone Buckingham Palace!

What do you like about Suffolk? Which places/towns are your favourites in the county?

Suffolk really is a beautiful place, and it can be easy to take that for granted when youve lived here your whole life, as I have. The places I enjoy most are by the sea, such as Aldeburgh and Southwold. Framlingham is another place that I particularly love. Im sure that living by a castle for a week every summer is what made me decide to study history! People complain about all the tourists and second home-owners, but it makes you realise how lucky we are to live in a county that is so beautiful that people choose to come on holiday here.

Is it a progressive county for young people or do you feel the need to move on?

Suffolk was a great place to live as a child: its safe, it has lovely beaches and parks to explore. When I was in my early teens, though, I found Suffolk a bit boring. I think one of the problems with the county is that there is very little to for young people to do until they are old enough to drive. Ive seen how some young people end up drinking on park benches and committing petty crime, just for something to do.

I do feel the need to see more of the world, but I think I will come back. I hope to move to London when I have finished my degree, but I can see myself moving back here when Im older. I think its a good place to bring up a family.

Favourite book and musical tracks and why?

At the moment I am enjoying Stephen Frys autobiography, The Fry Chronicles, which deals with his time at Cambridge. My favourite songs are probably Lady Writer and Tunnel of Love by Dire Straits, because they represent both sides of my life; growing up on the fair and wanting to be a journalist!


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