How Beckton’s Sheila Singh goes from strength to strength

A single mother who raised four children while plagued by ill-health is watching her dreams come alive as she prepares for the first graduation of the people she has trained.

Sheila Singh, 47, left school without any qualifications and only began her formal education at the age of 32. By then she was widowed and suffering from a condition that meant she was regularly hospitalised for days at a time.

In 2001 she suffered no less than 21 heart attacks and was given three weeks to live. She was diagnosed as having angiodema which causes swelling throughout the whole body and can make breathing difficult.

Despite all that, she launched her own teacher training business in March last year and is now looking forward to seeing her first batch of 56 students graduate soon. Not only that, she will be watching her own children graduate.

Sheila, from Beckton, set up the London School of Academics in High Street South while suffering daily pain from osteoarthritis. In fact, she underwent a partial knee replacement on her right leg but just four days later was back at work. She is due to undergo another operation for a full replacement on her left knee.

“I have been unable to walk but running my business is quite a challenge. I came in four days after the operation because I just needed to be focused and busy. The pain was unbearable but I was determined to walk.”

She freely admits she has to rely on a walking frame, plenty of painkillers and the kindness of strangers.

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She said: “I don’t think along the lines of “tomorrow could be my last day”. I take it one day at a time.

“I want to say to people, I am a single parent, I had no education but I put my mind to it and focused. So I would say, you can do whatever you want to do.

“I want people to know there is hope out there if you put your mind to it.”

She has created five full-time jobs and 10 part-time posts.