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Published 14th Aug 2017

Student Matthew Oates (centre) with lecturers Paula Bednarz–Withers (left) and Jo Thornhill (right)

A young man left severely injured after a horse kicked him in the head has stunned college tutors by excelling in his studies.

Matthew Oates, 20, from Stockton, was kicked in the face by his girlfriend’s horse just two weeks before he was due to start a Social Care course at Middlesbrough College.

He attended induction sessions at the College just days after leaving hospital with a wired jaw and numerous stiches to his head – determined to see his studies through.

Now the dedicated student has earned himself the title of Higher Education Student of the Year at Middlesbrough College’ annual Student Awards.

Matthew was praised by his tutors for completing assessed work on time and attending classes despite his injuries, and now he will go on to study a BSc Paramedic Practice degree at Teesside University.

His tutor, Paula Bednarz-Withers, curriculum team leader of part time programmes, health care, said: “We are all delighted at Matthew’s progress and very proud of his achievements. There’s no doubt he will be an excellent paramedic practitioner in the future.”

Matthew was among a host of student winners – recognised for their commitment and achievements.

Callum Twist, 18, from Darlington, became Outstanding Manufacturing Student of the Year for his focus on his BTEC Level 3 Mechanical Engineering studies – through which he is predicted to achieve the highest possible grade.

Meanwhile 18-year-old Chloe Kirkham-Harrington, from Redcar, was named Childcare Student of the Year after a string of top grades and a highly successful placement.

She will now go on to take a place at York St John University in September, as part of her aim to become a primary school teacher.

Sam Jarps, 18, from Stockton, was singled out for his support towards other students and a glowing report from his work experience employers. He received the Outstanding Electrical Engineering Student of the Year award.

Described as having “a voracious appetite for knowledge and learning”, 17-year-old Paris Highfield from Middlesbrough was recommended by her tutors for the Outstanding Achievement Award for Painting and Decorating.

Zoe Lewis, principal and chief executive of Middlesbrough College, said: “Every year we’re bowled over by the number of hard working, talented students that come to learn at Middlesbrough College – and this year was no exception.

“One of my favourite duties as principal is hearing the stories of students’ successes and being able to present them with our awards in recognition of their achievements.

“It’s a pleasure to see these talented young people at the start of what will undoubtedly be successful career and life journeys.”

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