Praise has been heaped on a dedicated student with a professional approach to her work who was named as the University of the Highlands and Islands further education student of the year.

Angela Louch (43) from Stornoway completed a hairdressing Level 5 National Certificate at Lews Castle College UHI.

Angela was commended for being a positive ambassador for her course and her college. She helped to organise a range of events during her studies and was credited with presenting a professional image at every occasion she attended. She was also praised for her commitment in the face of challenging personal circumstances.

Angela’s lecturer and course leader, Elspeth Robertson, nominated her for the award. She explains: “Angela is a single mother to a pre-school daughter and has various health issues, but she always does what is asked of her and has never complained or taken additional time off. She has been in hospital on a few occasions but has come into college the next day, so she doesn’t disappoint clients who are booked in for appointments.

“Angela has undertaken all of her work conscientiously and she follows what she has been asked to do diligently. She received excellent feedback from her work placement and the salon rated her so highly she has been invited to attend trade fairs and industry workshops with them. She is a worthy candidate for the student of the year award.”

Angela was presented with her student of the year certificate and a cheque for £200 at the Lews Castle College UHI graduation ceremony in Stornoway on Friday 23 August. She also received Lews Castle College UHI’s volunteering excellence trophy, its Billy Macleod inspirational award and its most employable student of the year title, an award Angela has won for the last three years.

Now she has finished her National Certificate, Angela is working as a self-employed hairdresser at the salon where she completed her work experience.

She is also continuing to develop her skills by undertaking an additional unit at Lews Castle College UHI and by completing short courses on other treatments she can offer.

Speaking about her award, Angela said: “I was delighted to be named as further education student of the year. My time in college has been enjoyable and being on placement has helped to improve my confidence. Tutor support has helped me get to where I am today, and I am truly grateful to Elspeth for this and for her nomination. You are never too old to follow your dreams and I would encourage anyone thinking of becoming a hairdresser to come to Lews Castle College UHI.”

Dr Diane Rawlinson, the university’s Vice-Principal Further Education, said: “Angela exemplifies the well-rounded graduate that all employers seek, and the University of the Highlands and Islands is proud to certificate.

“She has made the most of her time with the university, undertaking study beyond the requirements of her course and making a commitment to the community through her voluntary work that is commendable.

“I’m delighted to add my congratulations to those of others and look forward to hearing more from Angela as her career develops.

An award-winning crime writer and a well-known historian have received honorary doctorates from the University of the Highlands and Islands. Peter May and John Keay were presented with their awards by the university Chancellor, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, at the Perth College UHI graduation ceremony today (Thursday 3 October).

Born and brought up in Glasgow, Peter May started his career as a journalist before embarking on a fifteen-year stint in the television industry. He created and wrote many prime-time drama serials, including Take the High Road and Machair, before becoming a full-time novelist. May has now published over 20 books, including standalone novels such as Entry Island and Coffin Road, and the internationally best-selling Lewis Trilogy, a crime series set in the Outer Hebrides.

John Keay is a historian who specialises in India, Southeast Asia and China and also writes on Scotland. He discovered a love of India during a fishing trip in 1965 and returned often in his role as a political correspondent for The Economist. Keay gave up his correspondent role to write his first book, Into India, which was published in 1973. His other works include China: A History, The Tartan Turban and India Discovered. He also edited the first two editions of the Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland with his late first wife, Julia. Keay moved into radio in the 1980s, writing and presenting several documentary series for the BBC. Born and educated in England, Keayhas now lived in the West Highlands for nearly 50 years.

Professor Crichton Lang, Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor at the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: “Our honorary awards recognise individuals who have made outstanding achievements in their field or who have made important contributions to our university, the Highlands and Islands or to society at large. Both Peter May and John Keay are fitting recipients of our honorary doctorate awards. They have achieved much in their respective fields and have made significant contributions to the culture of the Highlands and Islands, Scotland and beyond.”

May said: “It is an absolute privilege and an honour to receive this doctorate, particularly from a university which has done so much to revolutionise tertiary education in the Highlands and Islands - a part of Scotland in which my heart has resided now for many years.”

Keay said: “An honorary award is of course a great honour. especially when made by such an innovative and august body as the University of the Highlands and Islands. It is also a great encouragement. Writing, be it fiction or non-fiction, can be a lonely trade. Recognition, if any, may have been long sought and be somewhat predictable. But something as unexpected as an honorary doctorate is in a class of its own. I am so proud to receive it and immensely grateful.”

Keay and May attended Perth College UHI’s ceremony alongside over 320 graduating students. Writer, television presenter and mountaineer, Cameron McNeish, was the guest speaker at the event which was held at Perth Concert Hall.

A nationally renowned and respected surgeon, teacher and researcher is to receive an honorary fellowship from the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Honorary fellowships are given to people who have made a significant contribution to the university or who have gained recognition for their activities in education, industry, public service or cultural and creative work.

Professor Alasdair (Alexander) Munro, from Inverness, has been a driving force in the development of healthcare in the Highlands and Islands during his 50-year career and the award recognises his personal contribution and the leading role he played in the growth of the university in the area of health.