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College award honour for Dumfries vet nurse

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By Christie Breen
Farming
College award honour for Dumfries vet nurse

A VETERINARY nursing student who completed her course after undergoing treatment for cancer has been recognised by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC).

Ashley Little, 36, originally from Dumfries was diagnosed with endometrial cancer in 2020, halfway through her studies.

She has now been awarded the inaugural Fairweather Prize for Further Education.

The award was established following a gift from Jamie Fairweather who died last year, six months after being diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer. It recognises students who have demonstrated exceptional qualities such as resilience, community mindedness, overcoming adversity and determination over the course of their studies. Due to her illness, Ashley was forced to take a break from her studies but was determined to finish her qualification, as she explained: “In order to go through the gruelling treatment plan, I had to take a break from my training.

“I had a full hysterectomy after which my diagnosis was confirmed as stage three, and I was required to go through adjuvant treatment in the form of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

“But I was lucky enough to have family and friends who supported me through the biggest challenge I hope I will ever have to face.

“My colleagues and lecturers also showed me a great deal of empathy and understanding during this time and were ready to provide me with the help I needed when I recovered enough to return to work and to my studies.

“I was very relieved to receive my results and finally achieve my qualification despite everything.”

Now a qualified registered veterinary nurse, Ashley is continuing to gain experience in her job, as well as enjoying spending time with her two dogs and three cats and playing and writing songs on her ukulele and guitar.

She added: “After my illness I have a greater appreciation for the fragility of life and the importance of finding joy in the little things,”

“I am very honoured to receive this award which exists due to the great generosity of Jamie and Mary Fairweather, and I would like to express my gratitude to the Fairweather family.

“For me, this award symbolises the end of a very long and challenging road and the beginning of a new chapter.”

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