AWARDS 2011: 'The Only Way Out Is Through'

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 AWARDS 2011: 'The Only Way Out Is Through'

Date posted: 14 January 2011

A tattoo on Will Goring's left arm indicates how he summoned up the strength to get through life during his dad's courageous fight with cancer.

The 24-year-old, from, Mickleover, graduates at the University of Derby's Awards Ceremonies on Saturday 22 January with a 2:2 degree in BSc (Hons) Geography. He is now on course to secure his dream job as a teacher after he completes a teacher training qualification.

But graduation will be a difficult day for the Goring family as Will's dad Robert lost his 18-month battle with cancer in October 2009. A member of Derby Rugby Club, and former captain of the University rowing club, keen sportsman Will has the phrase 'The Only Way Out Is Through' tattooed on his arm alongside his dad's initials, RAG.

Will said: "Dad never gave up so I told myself there was no way I could give up on my studies. The tattoo I have on my arm includes his initials and the motto comes from my interest in rugby - when you have a difficult tackle you never go round it - you always go through it - and as a family coping with Dad's illness, that is what we have tried to do."

After an initial diagnosis of oesophageal cancer in May 2008 and following months of gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the family thought Robert had beaten the illness when the cancer went into remission the following January.

But they were dealt a crushing blow just a few weeks later as Robert, a JCB engineer, was hoping to return to work to embark on light duties as part of his recovery, when medics discovered he had developed cancer in the hip and ribs. Terminal bone cancer was diagnosed on May 16, 2009.

Will and his family continued to nurse and support his father through the following few months, helping him to achieve some of his lifetime ambitions such as seeing the first modern day flight of the Vulcan and taking a helicopter flight with wife Liz. Robert sadly passed away on October 23, 2009 in the Nightingale Macmillan Unit at Derby Royal Hospital, at the age of 59.

Will said: "My father had decided that cancer would not take him and that he would decide when he went. That was the sort of determined personality he had. He wanted to make the best of his last few months and there were some things he wanted to experience and see which we were able to help him achieve.

"He saw a battle re-enactment with his brothers Gerald and Steven, in which the Vulcan RAF bomber performed a bombing demonstration, and enjoyed a final family holiday with us in Devon.

"Not a day goes by now without us thinking about losing dad but he was so brave and would not give in, living life by the motto "don't worry, fate is in the cards you are dealt."

Will also had some good friends who have supported him through the last couple of years including Will Asher and Richard Mills. Will (Goring) and Will Asher also took part in a number of charity events including a 325 mile London to Paris bike ride - raising a total of £10,000 for the charity Macmillan Cancer Support.

With his father's illness, Will had to temporarily put his University studies on hold but managed to complete everything bar his final dissertation before his father was admitted to hospital in September 2009. Despite his subsequent bereavement, Will tackled his dissertation around Christmas 2009, completing his degree in March 2010 - his final project exploring legacies around the forthcoming London Olympic Games.

Will said: "With everything that happened, the dissertation was the only thing which had to be put on hold. I had carried on with my studies until that point, my mother and brother still had to work and we all took our turns to look after Dad and support him in his final few months."

Will is currently deputy managing at the Bluebell Inn in Farnah Green, Belper, and he is also hoping to start teacher training in the next few months at the University of Derby. He wants to become a teacher having enjoyed a trainee teacher role at Landau Forte College some years ago which first inspired him to apply to enrol on a degree course at Derby. He will attend the Awards Ceremonies on Saturday 22 January  with his mum Liz, brother Simon and Simon's girlfriend Claire.

Will's tutor at the University of Derby, Oliver Tomlinson said: "We are delighted that Will and his family are attending the Awards Ceremonies this January. I'm really proud of him as a person as well as what he has achieved through such adversity."

Will concluded: "Completing the degree has been a massive weight off our shoulders - it was the last thing on the cancer path which we had to negotiate as a family. Graduating will be emotional as Dad will not be there in person - but I know he is always with us inspiring us all to achieve our goals."

For more information contact Deputy Head of Corporate Relations Simon Redfern on 01332 591942 or 07748 920038 or email

Use of personal data

Our policy is to only use the data you supply to us for use in regard to the work of the University of Derby. We do not pass on your data to any other third party under any circumstances.