Graduate triumphs despite tragic loss of his sister

Gentleman of letters: Iain McLean graduated from Aberdeen University after tragically losing his sister Cheryl.
Gentleman of letters: Iain McLean graduated from Aberdeen University after tragically losing his sister Cheryl.

A PETERHEAD man has graduated from Aberdeen University, despite the tragic loss of his sister during his final year.

Iain McLean (22) lost his sister Cheryl to muscular dystrophy during while studying for the LLB (Hons) degree.

Iain had to make the difficult decision whether to continue with his studies but received his law degree last Monday at a ceremony at King’s College’s Elphinstone Hall.

Cheryl (26) lost her nine year battle with the muscle wasting disease last October.

Iain said: “I wasn’t sure whether I would be able to go back to university as I have found it very difficult to adjust to life without my only other sibling. Cheryl was such an inspiration to me and I was very proud to say that she was my sister. She never complained and was always so positive.

“Cheryl died very suddenly and the shock to come to terms with such a loss is really hard.

“However, I decided to go back and throw myself into my studies. I had to keep going and keep myself going.”

Iain says his family and friends have been a great support at what has been a very difficult time and he would encourage anyone who is experiencing difficulties during their time at university to “just keep going and appreciate such an amazing opportunity.”

He added: “My mum and mad have been so supportive to me as well during such a difficult time for them as well.

Iain’s friends at university and at home in Peterhead have helped him deal with the tragedy and he says completing his degree has given him something positive to focus on.

Iain said: “I would like to graduate in memory of my sister as I know she would be very proud of me. I have loved my university experience but I really thought my sister would be here for my graduation.

“I’m sure she would have loved to have been here but I know she will be looking down on us today.”

Iain will start his career with oil company Bibby Offshore as their Graduate Contracts Engineer in September.