Five or six years from now, St Helena’s animals may be in the care of the island’s first home-grown, fully qualified veterinary surgeon.
Rebecca Lawrence, of Cowpath, has won a Commonwealth Scholarship to study veterinary medicine and surgery at the University of Nottingham.
Competition for the scholarship is strong but Rebecca’s achievement is especially significant, because it is rare for students to be funded for more than three years. She has secured an award for the whole of her five-year degree course.
She sets sail for the UK with four other former pupils of Prince Andrew School who are going on to further study: Leonie Ellick, Neil Francis, Zedella Young and Jamie Peters.
Joe Hollins, the island’s current vet, said: “Rebecca has been on work placement with the veterinary and Livestock section for the past year.
“She proved to be a quick learner and a great asset to the section, assisting with surgery and clinics, setting up data bases, working in the poultry unit and accompanying staff to treat the day-to-day ailments of livestock and pets.
“She also became greatly involved with our pedigree flock of Dorper sheep, and Samson the Ram is missing her even now!
“She shows all the correct attributes of someone who will prove to be a first class vet, and I hope the year she has had with us will mean that she is actually a more advanced, practical hands-on student than most who will have gone straight from school without a break.
“It’s a long, hard slog, not just to become a qualified vet, but to gain the practical experience that only time and exposure to clinical cases can provide.
“She has already learnt that in this profession you never stop learning – animals will always find something new to do to themselves, and new viruses are born to plague us almost every year.
“I know the section here at ANRD wish her well for the future and we’ll be watching her progress with great interest and pleasure.”
The five students leave the island in August. They will be met in the UK by government representative Kedell Worboys, who will help them get established with family and friends in the new home cities.
Leonie will study business management and marketing at Bath Spa University, Neil is studying economic at finance at the University of Brighton, and Zedella will study human geography and journalism at the University of Hertfordshire.
Jamie, who is part-sponsored by Enterprise St Helena, will undertake various motor vehicle courses at Barnfield College in Bedfordshire.
An inspiration to everyone on St Helena and a wonderful role model for our childrem – well done Rebecca.
– Catherine Turner, St Helena
Such wonderful stories of celebration and success coming from home this week. Congratulations to all of you and God bless you for safe travels on board the RMS.
– Doreen Gatien, California,USA.