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Robert Pugh

Worcester Cathedral is full of proud parents and family members during Graduation, but few more so than the family of Primary Initial Teacher Education graduate, Robert Pugh.

Robert, graduated with a First Class honours degree, faced up to, and overcame, far more than most during his time at the University of Worcester.

In 2013, during Robert’s second year, his sister was involved in a coach accident in the French Alps, which left her with 95% third degree burns and a ‘minimal’ chance of survival.

Against the odds, and with the support of her family, she survived, but not before both Robert and his mother went through the process of donating skin to her, which left Robert in hospital for two weeks, and permanently bandaged for two months after the procedure.

He explains: “Obviously, during this period, my studies were put on hold – I was devastated about what had happened to my sister, and I questioned on many occasions whether or not to continue with the course - due to time constraints and an inability to concentrate on my studies.

“However, the support network around me enabled me to carry on. This includes the Primary Teaching team at the University, led by Rachel Barrell, who were exceptional; my girlfriend at the time, who selflessly put her studies on hold to support me and my family; my friends at the University, one of whom decided to do a charity event to raise money for the burns unit; and my family, who supported me every step of the way.”

Robert’s sister’s recovery is still ongoing, but at graduation, his family was able to share in celebration of his truly exceptional achievement, of which he is rightfully proud.

“Whilst the final year was tough, I was determined to do my best, and it paid off,” he says. “Even with a smooth ride through university I would never have imagined getting a First, and so I was chuffed to bits.

“I don't feel any different however to anyone else in university, everyone has their own trials and tribulations and this just happened to be a major one that I had to deal with.”