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Moray College UHI student graduates after brain surgery


By Jonathan Clark


LAST Friday was a proud day for everyone graduating from Moray College UHI at Elgin Town Hall – but especially so for 17-year-old Robbie Mungersdorf.

So determined was Elgin resident Robbie to complete his course, he overcame a life threatening illness and emergency brain surgery midway through the academic year to do so.

The Elgin High pupil underwent brain surgery due to a tumour, which has resulted in a shunt being put in to drain fluid from his brain. However, he only took two weeks off for the operation, and hasn't missed another class since.

His positive attitude did not go unnoticed as, on top of graduating with his level five in hospitality, he won both the Developing the Young Workforce Award and the James Smith Award. The former is presented to students who actively seek opportunities to develop their skills for life, while the latter is given to a student who demonstrates outstanding dedication to their course.

Robbie Mungersford with his awards – the Developing the Young Workforce Award and the James Smith Award. Picture: Eric Cormack.
Robbie Mungersford with his awards – the Developing the Young Workforce Award and the James Smith Award. Picture: Eric Cormack.

Robbie certainly did both of those. Living with a life-threatening illness never got him down and he was heralded as "an inspiration to both fellow students and the academic team" for his willingness to work and learn, despite feeling exhausted and sick on a daily basis.

He told the Northern Scot: "I had brain surgery during the year but I just wanted to continue studying because I enjoyed the course so much.

"The chefs and the lecturers really helped me through and I'm really grateful to them. I would recommend the course to anybody."

Having finished level five hospitality, Robbie, who also works in the café at Moray Leisure Centre, is kicking on with level six – and his ambition is to become a chef. Currently, he regularly helps out with events hosted by the hospitality department in the evenings.

The winner of the HISA Award for Most Inspiring Student was Becky Poyner, of Auldearn. Becky, who studied online from home for four years, battled mental health issues but graduated with honour in Child and Youth Studies.

Becky Poyner was awarded the HISA Award for Most Inspiring Student. Picture: Eric Cormack.
Becky Poyner was awarded the HISA Award for Most Inspiring Student. Picture: Eric Cormack.

She now runs the Student Peer Support Group and has secured part time employment with the Moray Wellbeing Hub as the Young Champion Peer mentor and trainer. She says graduating was "an incredible and empowering feeling."

More pictures inside on P4-5.



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