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News archive for December 2009

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News Archive

December 2009

Stirling student says we should all get involved in environmental management

University student nurses take health education to Zambia

Stirling graduate Catriona Matthew crowned top sports personality

Successful swims for scholarship students in Istanbul

UN expert highlights world population trends

Inverness student Karen wins top nursing prize

Florida trip can focus Kelsey’s Curtis Cup dream

Are eco-labels on fish confusing consumers?

Ryder Cup no longer a pipe dream for golf graduate Richie

University hours over Christmas and New Year

Stirling student says we should all get involved in environmental managementStudent Arantxa receives her prize from Professor James Curran

Date released: Thursday 3 December, 2009

November’s record-breaking rainfall in central Scotland and the resulting flooding demonstrated how dramatically people’s lives can be disrupted and local economies destroyed. Extremes of weather, brought on by climate change, represent an increasingly serious issue for environmental scientists and the University of Stirling has risen to the challenge. Stirling’s Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, working in conjunction with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and Dundee University, has created a new MSc degree course in River Basin Management.

At the University’s recent Graduation ceremony, Stirling’s Principal, Professor Christine Hallett, noted the significance of the new partnership between Stirling and SEPA in training a new generation of professionals to tackle emerging issues relating to flooding and river basin management. The MSc degree sits alongside the well established MSc in Environmental Management, which considers many environmental issues, including flooding.

This year Arantxa San-Sebastian (pictured), who gained her MSc in Environmental Management with distinction, was judged the top student and after her Graduation ceremony, Professor James Curran (pictured) presented Arantxa with her prize on behalf of SEPA. In addition, Arantxa and fellow student Brian Henry – who gained an MSc with distinction in River Basin Management – were each awarded the Course Directors’ prize. These are given in recognition of the students’ contributions to their course over the whole academic year.

Speaking of her reasons for studying Environmental Management, Arantxa said: “We are currently facing a wide range of environmental issues such as climate change, pollution, habitat loss and the depletion of non-renewable resources that make environmental management a dynamic and challenging field. I believe that to be a successful environmental manager, one must have a sound knowledge and understanding of the issues, be forward-thinking and be prepared to consider innovative solutions and embrace new technologies.

“Environmental management is something we should all take responsibility for in our day to day lives and can involve simple tasks such as recycling and energy saving measures or larger scale involvement such as supporting energy production initiatives based on renewable power.

“I think people are right to be concerned, but I believe we can find solutions to our environmental problems and I am certain that this MSc course will assist me in developing a successful career in the field and will allow me to make a personal contribution to this great challenge.”

Arantxa is presently working as a Project Developer with Enertrag Scotland Ltd, a recently established renewable energy company that specialises in on-shore wind energy.

For more information on the University of Stirling MSc courses in Environmental Management and River Basin Management, go to:



University student nurses take health education to ZambiaThree Stirling based students plan their Zambian trip

Date released: Thursday 3 December, 2009

A group of University of Stirling student nurses is launching a campaign to raise £6,000 for a very worthwhile African project. They have been chosen to carry out voluntary work in Zambia and will spend six weeks working with local communities, giving expert information on sexual health and nutrition, as well as dealing with minor ailments and injuries.

“These three areas of health education were subjects that our potential volunteers had to research, in relation to both the geographical area and the social culture they would be visiting,” explained Fiona Doherty, a Teaching Fellow at the University’s Department of Nursing and Midwifery and one of the volunteer selection panel.

The University already has connections with the African country through its Sports Studies programme, in which students on previous visits used sport as a means of reaching out to young Zambians. When they then attended health teaching classes with their new friends, one group of Sports Studies students and staff became aware that much of the health guidance which was being given out was factually inaccurate, frequently misleading and therefore, pretty unhelpful. On their return, both staff and students described this worrying experience to colleagues at the Nursing and Midwifery Department and asked for help and advice. The result will be the arrival in Lusaka in March of four final year nursing students.

Nicola Walker (20), from Ladybank in Fife, Louisa Smith (22) from Bo’ness and Niki Spence (24) and Catriona Robinson (20) from Inverness, are all studying at either the Stirling or Highland campuses and looking forward to this tremendous opportunity. Although there’s a huge amount of fundraising still to be done (there’s only £400 in the joint kitty so far) and the culture shock of life in a Lusakan suburb to be confronted, none of them seems daunted by the task ahead.

“I think I have an open mind,” says Nicola, “and I’m very enthusiastic about the idea of experiencing the Zambians’ way of life – seeing how their medical system works and doing whatever I can to promote positive ideas about health.”

Catriona – Nicola’s fellow student and flatmate – agrees. “I’m hoping we can do some good; making even small changes to people’s understanding of their health would be an achievement. I know we still have a lot of money to raise but we have a few events planned for January, including three charity nights and a backpacking trip around the Inverness, Fife and Stirling areas. We’ve got loads of ideas!”

Louisa is also looking forward to the experience, although delivering health education to groups will be a first. “I’m used to working with different age groups through my nursing placements so, although it might be a bit daunting the first time I do it, I’m confident I’ll have enough knowledge of the subjects to get the message across to the people I talk to.”

In fact, Louisa’s only reservations are on the wildlife front. “I’m not mad about insects. I’m okay with spiders but anything bigger than that…!”

In Lusaka, the four girls will live in Wallace House, a shared house funded by one of Stirling’s partner universities from the Sports project. During the project, they will visit four health centres, an orphanage and a hospice which cares for the terminally ill – many of whom are young people. It’s in these centres that they will be teaching the local people who use the facilities about health education.

“Our students will soon find that while tuberculosis, meningitis and HIV and Aids are rife, the biggest threats to people’s health in Zambia are the extensive poverty and ignorance, which result in problems such as poor drinking water facilities and sewage systems,” explains Fiona.

“Stirling is the first university to work on a project like this and it illustrates the breadth of opportunity which is available to students who are considering careers in nursing. We had to alter the students’ course assessments so that these were based on teaching, as well as gathering health-related information and examining it in a cultural context. When they come home, they will have to deliver a presentation focusing on who they taught, what they taught and how they taught, while in the field.

“They will get tremendous benefits from the project through experience of another country and the recognition of the influence of cultural beliefs. It will be hands-on and challenging but it will build their confidence in everything from communicating ideas to presentation skills. And their experiences will give us a better idea of how best to prepare other nursing students for similar work in future.”

Picture caption: Stirling based students Nicola (top) Catriona (middle) and Louisa (bottom) meet up to discuss their trip.

Notes to Editors:

If any local businesses or organisations would like to help these nursing students with their fundraising activities, you can contact them through Fiona Doherty or call: 01786466361

For further information on the University’s Zambia connection, click on:

For further information on the Department of Nursing & Midwifery’s involvement, click on:


Stirling graduate crowned top sports personality

Date released: Monday 7 December, 2009

Stirling golf graduate Catriona Matthew took the plaudits as she was crowned Scottish Sports Personality of the Year at a star-studded awards ceremony.

Matthew, who became the first ever Scottish woman to win a golf major – and only the fourth Briton - when she lifted the British Open trophy at Royal Lytham and St Annes in August, was honoured at the Sunday Mail sportscotland Sports Awards.

The glittering ceremony, broadcast on television last night (Sunday 6), recognised the plethora of achievements across Scottish sport in 2009, from local heroes to clubs and coaches.

Stirling graduate Catriona MatthewAnd Matthew, who was the first female golf scholarship recipient at the University of Stirling in 1987, took the evening’s main award ahead of such luminaries as Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and tennis star Andy Murray amongst others.

Benefitting from the flexible International Sports Scholarship Programme and an R&A bursary, Matthew, neé Lambert, spread her course over five years and graduated with a 2:1 BA in Financial Studies.

She was a promising golfer at this stage and has since excelled on the international stage, with three LPGA and three LET tour victories to her name, including the British Open success which came just two months after the birth of her second child Sophie.

Ian Thomson, an Honorary Professor of the Department of Sports Studies at the University, helped launch the University’s International Sports Scholarship Programme in 1981.

He worked closely with Matthew, 40, and is proud to see her efforts acknowledged. He said: "She has the perfect qualities – steely determination and an incredible modesty as well as being talented in both sport and education. I am delighted to see her get the rewards and recognition she deserves.

"It is no coincidence there is such a strong crop of young talented female golfers coming through at the moment as she is an inspiration and a great role model. She stayed in Scotland and developed her game and it is good to see so many others remain here. Eventually they will head off to compete in the big tours, but it is nice they can improve and gain an education here first."

Professor Thomson was recently the recipient of an honorary degree from the University and among the many congratulatory cards was one from the reluctant hero. "It was so nice she found the time to write to me," added Professor Thomson. "It was a lovely letter saying how when she started out as a bursar at Stirling it was very unusual, unlike now, for golf to have a fitness programme and how the University was ahead of the game.”

Matthew, who lives in North Berwick with her family, including her husband and regular caddy Graeme, is aiming to finish the year in style at the season ending European Tour event.

She tees off on Wednesday in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters with the chance to overtake Swede Sophie Gustafson at the top of the European Order of Merit.

The Sunday Mail Sports Awards also recognised the achievements of Scotland’s emerging talent, through the Young Sports person of the Year category, which was sponsored by the University of Stirling as Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence.

This accolade went to teenage curler Eve Muirhead, who won three consecutive Junior World Championship gold medals and is now set to compete at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next year.

Picture caption: Catriona Matthew opens the University’s Golf Academy, which includes a nine-hole par parkland three course and practice area.


Successful swims for scholarship students in Istanbul

Date released: Tuesday 15 December, 2009

Winning Students

Winning Student Hannah Miley was inspirational in Istanbul as one of four scholarship swimmers who impressed at the 13th LEN European Short Course Swimming Championships.

Miley stole the show in Turkey over the weekend, collecting the British team’s only medals and setting two new British records in the process.

The 20-year-old is supported by Winning Students, Scotland’s national sports scholarship scheme funded by the Scottish Funding Council and led by the University of Stirling, which helps student athletes achieve their sporting and academic goals.

Four Winning Students were part of the 31-strong British squad competing in the four-day event. Miley, a BSc Sport and Exercise Science student at Robert Gordon University was joined by Lewis Smith and Andy Hunter from the University of Stirling and Louise Pate from the University of Edinburgh.

All four impressed, but it was Miley who excelled from day one. She started with a bronze medal in the 200m Individual Medley (IM) then set a new British record in the 200m Breaststroke. But she saved the best till last, winning gold in the 400m IM, again with a British best time just 0.6 seconds outside the European record.

“I knew it would be a tough race,” said Miley of her first place finish. “I did not start too fast in order to keep some power for the end of the race. I didn't worry about the other swimmers, and I'm very happy because it's my first individual gold medal.”

Winning Student Lewis SmithSports Studies student Smith, who trains at the British Gas ITC on campus at Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence, competed in the 200m IM and the 400m freestyle on the opening day. The 21-year-old athlete also swam an excellent heat to reach the final of the 400m IM and raced in the 200m Butterfly.

Smith’s ITC training partner Hunter, a 4th year Accounts and Business Studies student, competed in the 100m, 200m and 400m freestyle, the 23-year-old 9th overall against a strong field at 200m.

Pate, an Applied Sports Science student, competed in the 200m Butterfly and came close to beating her Scottish record in the 50m and 100m Butterfly. She also finished 11th overall as part of the GBR 4x50m medley relay squad.

Winning Students works closely with Scottish Swimming to ensure Scotland’s best student swimmers are fully supported.

Scottish Swimming Performance Director Ally Whike said: “All four students performed really well for this time of year, when the focus is on winter training. For Hannah [Miley] to win her first major title was excellent and a real boost for her heading into a Commonwealth Games year. And for the others all to make semi-finals/finals against some tough opposition is very encouraging too.”

Miley will now complete a busy December appearing at the British Gas Duel in the Pool which pits a European Select side against the best from the USA in a two-day Ryder Cup style competition from Friday (18 December) at the Manchester Aquatic Centre.

Photograph courtesy of Scottish Swimming


UN expert highlights world population trends

Date released: Thursday, 17 December 2009

Dr Gerhard Heilig

The chief of the United Nation's Population Estimates and Projections Section, Dr Gerhard Heilig, recently told a University of Stirling audience how the world will be affected by its population rising to nine billion.

In a guest lecture on 100 Years of World Population Growth, he reported on the trends, causes and economic consequences of a continuously growing population.

The event was organised by the Stirling Management School’s Business & Organisation Division and initiated by the newly founded Students’ Business Club. In a highly interesting session, Dr Heilig provided his insight into the latest UN statistics but also his personal view on global demographic trends, why the world population has been growing, and how it affects our life in the 21st century.

His first major projection is that while the world population is likely to stabilize by 2050, it will have grown by then by 50 per cent to over nine billion people. While Europe has a predicted decline, Asia and Africa will experience significant growth: Asia by 1.5 billion, and Africa faster than any other part of the world, up 144% from its current 1,010 million.

After presenting figures and potential causes of future population growth, Dr Heilig also indicated the consequences. For instance, China may face a severe challenge regarding the pension system in the near future, while Africa could have a particular challenge regarding education. In an intensive discussion, chaired by Dr Markus Kittler (Business & Organisation), the audience raised a number of further issues related to the consequences of population growth, to which Dr Heilig gave well-informed answers and interpretations.

For further information please contact


Inverness student Karen wins top nursing prize

Date released: Friday, 18 December 2009

Karen HercherIf you’ve ever day-dreamed of changing your job and branching out on a new career, but you feel you might have left it too late, Karen Hercher’s story should be an inspiration.

This mature student has just graduated from The University of Stirling’s Highland campus with a BSc in Adult Nursing, in addition to which, today she has also been presented with the prestigious RG Bomont Award. This annual prize is given for Excellence in Clinical Practice, based on the nominated student’s performance during various work placements.

Karen’s personal tutor, Sandra MacFarlane, said: “Karen was chosen for the award because she was always enthusiastic, regardless of where she was sent. And every nurse who supervised her practice gave her an exceptionally good report.”

The Head of the Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Professor William Lauder added: “Karen is a good example of the high achieving, compassionate and skilled nurse that are the hallmarks of nurses who graduate from Scotland’s top research and education department.”

The award is another milestone on a career path, which Karen admits had never even entered her mind over 25 years ago when as a school leaver, she went to work in a solicitor’s office. “I worked mainly in the Property department there but never saw it as a long-term career,” she says. “Then when I had my children, Claire and Alan, I worked part-time as a play leader until they reached school age. But it wasn’t until I took a position as clerical officer in the hospital’s physiotherapy department that I began to think I would like to be able to do more ‘hands-on’ work with patients.”

Karen took on the position of Occupational Therapy Assistant and, for the next six years, worked with young adults who had suffered head injuries. By now, her children had grown up and Claire was heading for university – which prompted a re-think. “My job was part-time but a university education is an expensive business and I needed to increase my earnings.”

The lack of available full-time work opportunities resulted in Karen leaving the NHS and becoming an account manager in Debenhams. “I enjoyed that but I realised I was really missing having contact with patients,” she remembers. “So after a year, I got a job as an auxiliary nurse – and it was at that point that I realised my calling, if you like. I wanted to do more for people and I desperately wanted to become a qualified nurse.”

Karen’s charge nurse encouraged her to take the HNC course which, according to Karen, “Made perfect sense, since I didn’t have the necessary qualifications. It also meant I would continue to get my salary for a year and if by year-end, I decided it wasn’t the right move for me, I could still go back to my old job.”

That year proved a difficult one for Karen: “Not least because I hadn’t had to write an essay or immerse myself in studies for over 25 years! However, my university experience was totally different from anything that had gone before and I discovered I actually had a flair for the style of writing and the approach to researching journals, which the course required.”

It was at this point that Karen was introduced to the nine practice placements which nursing students must undergo during their three years of study – offering her the chance to work alongside various inspirational mentors and other members of the healthcare profession. Her first placement was in the Diagnostics Department of Raigmore Hospital and she performed so well there that, when she qualified recently, the Department offered her regular shift work.

“My duties there are always very varied and challenging. One day I might be caring for anxious patients who are undergoing diagnostic procedures, and it’s vital to offer people reassurance, while maintaining their dignity. The next day I might be working in the Day Case Unit, closely observing patients who have undergone complex cardiac treatments. In almost every situation, reassuring the patients concerned is a crucial aspect of the work.”

So what’s next for this award winning nursing graduate?

“Well…when I finished at the University, I never thought I’d want to write another article! But now I’m really keen to continue with my studies,” she admitted. “Gaining my degree with Distinction has made me confident that I can study and now I might go on to do Honours.”

The final bit of good news for Karen is that she has just been accepted as a permanent member of the Diagnostics team at NHS Highland – which is the perfect end to her career-change story. She says: “I couldn’t have done this without the support of my family and friends; especially my husband Alan, who has been there for me through the hard times.”


The R G Bomont Award was created by the University of Stirling Department of Nursing and Midwifery, following a generous donation from former University Secretary, Dr. Robert G Bomont – a key figure in the setting up of the department in 1996. This year, all 262 completing students were eligible for entry to the Award, 126 of these from the Highland and Western Isles campuses.

The range of provision available starts from preparation for Nursing and Midwifery programmes to Diploma or increasingly First Degree levels. Additionally the University offers Honours, Masters and PhD studies, as well as its unique Clinical Doctorate programme.

The University’s Department of Nursing and Midwifery is now welcoming applications for September 2010. So if a career in nursing appeals to you, visit:


Florida trip can focus Kelsey’s Curtis Cup dream

Date released: Monday, 21 December 2009

Scottish Ladies Junior Open Strokeplay champion Kelsey MacDonald is hopeful a repeat performance in Florida can boost her Curtis Cup prospects.

The 19-year-old University of Stirling golf scholar is part of the 2010 Great Britain & Ireland squad for the biennial match against the United States of America next June.

And with few events in between now and the eight woman team being named at the end of April, Winning Student* Kelsey knows another strong showing over three tournaments in the Orange Blossom Tour can put her in a great position.

Kelsey, a Sports Studies student and part of Stirling’s International Sports Scholarship Programme, which boasts BritishWinning Student Kelsey MacDonald Open champion Catriona Matthew amongst its alumni, finished runner-up in the 2009 South Atlantic Ladies Amateur Championship – or ‘The Sally’ as the tournament is more affectionately known.

And a memorable first Orange Blossom outing was completed when she reached the final of the Jones/Doherty matchplay. “I had a really good experience last year, which was great,” said Kelsey, from Nairn Dunbar. “I think the fact the weather was terrible gave me an advantage as it was just like playing back at home.

“I went out just for the experience and to get back to competitive action so I surprised myself at how well it went. I was able to relax as I had no real expectations, but this year, with my previous form and being in the Curtis Cup squad, it is a bit more pressured.

“On the other hand, I have the advantage of having played the courses before and I go into it feeling positive, so I’ll just go and do my best.”

There are six Scots in the current Curtis Cup squad vying for a place in the team to take on the USA at Essex County Golf Club in Massachusetts from June 11. The Ladies Golf Union is expected to make its final selection straight after the Helen Holm Scottish Ladies’ Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship at Troon on April 25.

Kelsey added: “The Orange Blossom Tour is an early opportunity for me to show the selectors what I can achieve, but you have to play consistently well throughout the season too. I will be playing in a couple more tournaments soon after so if things don’t go too well in the States, it’s not the end of the dream.”

Golf scholars preparing for the Orange Blossom TourSix golfers from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence will set off for Florida on January 4, competing at the Harder Hall Invitation (Sebring), The Sally (Oceanside Country Club) and the Jones/Doherty matchplay (Coral Ridge CC).

Joining Kelsey in the fifth University trip to the Tour are: Irish Girls internationalist Rachel Cassidy, Scottish U18 Internationalist Rebecca Wilson, Harriet Beasley, Jordana Graham and Eilidh Mackay.

University of Stirling women’s high performance golf coach Lesley Mackay, a former Scottish and British International player, said: “Kelsey’s performances last year were incredible and would have earned her a place in the American Curtis Cup team so she will be keen to repeat the achievement.

“It is great for the girls to test themselves against the best players in the world and experience different courses and conditions. Even just the experience of travelling as a group to a different country is an important one for any golfer as they develop their game. But we are going there to compete, not just make up the numbers.”


* Picture caption: The Stirling team picture shows (l-r): Rebecca Wilson, coach Lesley Mackay, Jordanna Graham, Harriet Beasley, Rachel Cassidy and Kelsey MacDonald. Not pictured: Eilidh Mackay.
* Winning Students is Scotland's national sports scholarship scheme supporting student athletes to achieve their sporting and academic goals. Funded by the Scottish Funding Council and led by the University of Stirling, the scheme creates a support network of colleges and universities across Scotland.


Are eco-labels on fish confusing consumers?

Date released: Monday, 21 December 2009

A major new research project claims that shoppers are being confused by eco-labels on fish, and has called for better information for consumers.

Published today (Monday, 21 December 2009), the Review of Fish Sustainability Information Schemes is a comprehensive review of the various types of advice available to seafood consumers, including eco-labels and recommendation lists on fish to buy or avoid.

The researchers conclude that labelling schemes can be confusing as they are too simplistic, and that the high cost of certification may discriminate against developing economies.

The report, conducted by independent research firm MRAG Ltd and moderated by Professor James Young of the University of Stirling, argues that consumers must have access to better information and explains how the current schemes have the capacity to add to consumer confusion where there is inconsistency.

The review notes that certification schemes and recommendation lists have had substantial success in increasing awareness of the issues associated with sustainable fishing and aquaculture within a limited number of mainly developed country markets. However the review also notes that fish products from developing economies, upon which there is considerable reliance, can easily be denied access to markets if they cannot afford to produce the data required by certification schemes.

The review considered eco-labelling by organisations like the Marine Stewardship Council™ and Friends of the Sea™. It also examined schemes that advise consumers on fish to eat and avoid from organisations such as Greenpeace, the Marine Conservation Society and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

The report benchmarks ‘best practice’ for advice of this kind largely upon the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) which published guidelines on the eco-labelling of fisheries products some years ago.

The report proposes core quality standards including transparency, relevance, accuracy, and peer review which would improve the potential for inconsistent and sometimes conflicting advice which emanates from some advisory lists which are often dated and too general to be of real value.

“Working from different data sets has led to results which are inconsistent between schemes and have thus created confusion for consumers”, said James Young, Professor of Applied Marketing at the University of Stirling. “What’s more, certain schemes do not openly declare their views about certain types of fishing, so that some species will be excluded from a ‘sustainability’ list simply because of the way it’s caught.

“Another major area of concern is that any one species may be caught in very many different fisheries but the status of stocks can vary widely between these fisheries. Cod and tuna are clear examples where simple ‘yes/no’ recommendations do not convey accurate information and are of little use.”

The new research emphasises that the high cost of some certification schemes makes it difficult for fisheries in emerging markets to attain certification, and it calls for more to be done to help poorer countries and communities to achieve recognised standards in sustainability.

Professor Young continued “Whilst there’s evidence of companies and some environmental funding bodies helping fisheries with the costs of the certification process, the existing schemes can still create barriers for some fisheries in emerging economies. As sustainability information becomes more important to consumers in the developed world, this risks putting developing economies at a trading disadvantage. There’s plenty of scope for this whole area to be rationalised, and for better information to be available to consumers, so that they can really understand what they’re buying.”


Ryder Cup no longer a pipe dream for golf graduate Richie

Date released: Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Stirling graduate Richie Ramsay is hopeful his Ryder Cup dream can become a reality after a maiden European Tour Golf victory on Sunday.

Ramsay, who graduated from Scotland’s University for Sporting Excellence in 2007 with a BA Hons in Marketing and Sports Studies, defeated Indian Shiv Kapur in a play-off to win the South African Open Championship.

A cheque for €158,500 is a welcome Christmas gift for the Aberdonian following his flawless final day at Pearl Valley Golf Estates, where he also secured his playing rights until the end of 2011.

The result has propelled Ramsay up the rankings and even prompted whispers of achieving a place in Colin Montgomerie’s European Ryder Cup team for Celtic Manor in October.

“If it came about that would be unbelievable,” said Ramsay. “But I’ll be keeping my feet on the ground and I know whatRichie Ramsay in 2006 with the US Amateur Championship trophy my targets are. When I turned pro, I’d have said to win a tournament was a dream and now it’s the same for the Ryder Cup, but it’s a case of never-say-never. To get there, I have to work hard and keep on making the small steps forward.”

The 25-year-old former International sports scholar took a huge step forward on Sunday, wrapping up victory with a best of the day 65, including seven birdies and not a single dropped shot. His eighth birdie, in the first play-off hole, proved the clincher.

“I played great” beamed Ramsay, who only just secured his 2010 Tour card in October courtesy of a 4th place finish at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship at St Andrew’s. “One day you are playing terrible, but then you work hard and get the day you remember for a long time. I guess that’s the lure of golf.

“All the putts went in and the three wood I hit in the play-off was one of the best shots I have ever made – it took all the pressure off. It’s always good to win a tournament, but the security it brings me for a couple of years is brilliant.

“I can now relax a little and approach things differently. Professional golf is like a ladder which you can climb one step at a time, but winning a tournament moves you up more quickly and gives you more opportunity to make the bigger tournaments.”

His victory was the first for a Scot on the Tour since Paisley’s Alastair Forsyth won the Madeira Islands Open BPI in March 2008 and yet another in a fast growing list of accolades for Ramsay.

During the course of his studies, Ramsay won the Scottish Universities Individual title and the Scottish strokeplay title – both with record scores; helped the University win three British University team events; represented Europe in the Palmer Cup against the USA; won the Irish strokeplay title; played for Great Britain in the 2005 Walker Cup and played alongside Phil Mickelson following his US Amateur Championship success in 2006.

And yet, for Ramsay, it was not even about the success. He added: “The main thing for me was to get a degree and it was great that, because the university is campus-based, I could go to the gym then hit some balls on the range all very quickly, without wasting any time travelling. It was a fantastic experience which taught me to live independently and prepared me for the discipline you need as a tour golfer.”

Ramsay is now planning a quiet family Christmas before setting off for the Abu Dhabi Golf Championship which tees off on 21 January, 2010.

In other Stirling golf news, former student Kylie Walker secured her card for the 2010 European Ladies Tour after a joint eighth place finish in the final qualifying event at La Manga in Spain. Walker will join fellow Stirling graduates Catriona Matthew, Maria Hjorth, and Lynn Kenny on the tour which starts in February.

University of Stirling Sports Performance Manager Raleigh Gowrie said: “Richie demonstrated considerable commitment, effort and self-discipline when combining a successful amateur golf career with studying for a university degree. I’m sure these attributes contributed to his first success in professional golf.

“His victory is on the back of some excellent performances from our scholarship alumni including Catriona Matthew winning the 2009 British Open, Kylie Walker qualifying for the 2010 European Ladies Tour and Gavin Dear leading the qualifiers for the 2010 Alps Tour. Their successes act as inspiration for our current and future scholar-athletes.”


University hours over Christmas and New Year

Date released: Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Most of the University offices are closed from Thursday 24 December and will reopen at 9am on Tuesday 5 January.

However, the University sports facilities will be open throughout the Christmas period. For information about opening times for the swimming pool, fitness centre, strength and conditioning centre, tennis centre, sports hall and squash courts, see here.

Visitors are also welcome to walk around our beautiful campus and enjoy the scenery.

We would like to take this opportunity to offer our very best wishes for the festive season, and a great New Year!


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