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Family pays tribute to inspiring student at graduation


The family of an inspiring and caring student were welcomed by Robert Gordon University (RGU) this week, as they accepted her graduation.

Lyle McDonald with Sir Ian WoodLeanne McDonald sadly died in July of this year, but was honoured alongside her classmates, having been awarded a BA in Children and Young People’s Nursing.

The 21-year-old, from Montrose, had been in her final months of training and had already secured a job offer from the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow.

Her older brother Lyle accepted her degree at the graduation ceremony at Aberdeen’s Beach Ballroom on Wednesday 7 December, while parents John and Audrey looked on.

Leanne’s parents told how they knew their daughter would have made an incredible nurse.

John McDonald said: “Leanne always had a love of children to go along with her caring and thoughtful nature. Even from an early age, she said that she wanted to be a nurse, so that she could look after and care for sick people.

“It didn’t come as a surprise to any of us when she started training to become a nurse and it was an absolute passion for her. She would tell us how much she particularly enjoyed her placements to the sick children’s hospital and how important an experience that was for her.”

Leanne was a keen dancer and attended the Gordon School of Dancing in Montrose until she attended RGU. She was also involved with Brownies and Guides from a young age.

Audrey McDonald said: “She thoroughly enjoyed going away camping and I used to joke that she liked roughing it so much that she was a bit of a tomboy. She was also a real girlie girl, who loved her make-up, hair styles and heels.”

Audrey spoke of how Leanne’s caring nature would make her step up in any situation when someone was ill or in distress.

She said: “I remember when a younger school friend had a fit during an assembly and Leanne took control of the situation in front of everyone, which was appreciated by all of the teachers and the girl’s mother.

“She would look after her friends on nights out, make sure a diabetic friend was always okay and she even once checked on a man in a van, who she thought had taken a heart attack. Leanne was always there for anyone who needed help.”

Leanne’s parents said: “This graduation means a great deal to all of us. Leanne was a clever girl who worked hard to get into university, so she could pursue her dream profession.

“We were extremely proud of how she dealt with university life and the effort she put in throughout her degree. It means the world to us that this is being recognised.”

Release by Jonathon Milne
Communications Officer | Health and Sport
Press and Media Enquiries