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Fitting memorial to former Borders College student

Parents and staff recently paid tribute to former student Stuart Riches by unveiling a metal sculpture memorial tree in his memory.

Stuart, who sadly passed away in June 2015, spent a number of years studying on various courses within the Borders College Access department.

Stuart’s parents, Sheila and Ian Riches from Charlesfield, near St Boswells, kindly donated money from the collection at Stuart’s funeral to the Access department. The Access department, in partnership with the Engineering department, developed the idea of building a memorial tree and Sheila and Ian were invited in to put the first leaf on the tree in memory of their son. 

Stuart was one of the most enthusiastic and outgoing students ever to spend time in the Access department and, in spite of his continuing poor health, he adopted a very positive outlook on life and always gave 100% to everything that was put in front of him. One of his many qualities was his great sense of humour.

Joan Cairney (Curriculum Learning Manager) commented:

“The staff team reminisce about stories from Stuart’s time at College and, guaranteed, they always end up smiling”.

Engineering lecturer Dave Black tasked his students to design and manufacture the memorial tree. Student Callum Cairns took the lead role on the project and, although not all plain sailing, they produced an amazing tree which they installed in the College courtyard. The College purchased copper leaves and thought it would be fitting to invite Sheila and Ian to put the first leaf on the tree.

Sheila and Ian commented:

“This is a lovely, lasting tribute to our son Stuart as the College played a large part in his life”.

If any staff or students would like to buy a leaf for the tree, these are available from Joan Cairney. All proceeds from the sale of leaves will be donated to the Engineering department to help with funding for the Greenpower project. 

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