Poignant night for star student

Student of the Year Caroline McCarroll pictured with her award and Daniel Robinson with the award
Student of the Year Caroline McCarroll pictured with her award and Daniel Robinson with the award

STAR student Caroline McCarroll collected a hat-trick of awards at an emotional college ceremony last night – with former boss Gus Robinson MBE at the forefront of her mind.

The 24-year-old won the Student of the Year 2011, the Plumbing Award and Apprentice of the Year at Hartlepool College of Further Education’s annual Celebration of Achievement awards.

It was a particularly poignant night for Caroline, a gas service engineer for Gus Robinson Developments.

Gus’s son Daniel attended the ceremony alongside other representatives from the town firm.

The awards, held inside the new £53m college building in Stockton Street, were staged the day after the funeral of the popular town businessman and boxing promoter.

The much-loved 62-year-old husband, dad and granddad was found dead on Tuesday, November 15, at his home in the West Park area of town.

Caroline, who attended with partner Nick Farman, 24, and work colleagues, said: “I am overwhelmed because I never expected to win three awards.

“Everybody is a bit down at the moment, because everybody loved Gus Robinson.

“This is uplifting for the company, and the recent sad events have made this extra special.”

Caroline started her apprenticeship course without a placement but college tutors say she fought for an opportunity and when one arose at Gus Robinson Developments grabbed it with both hands.

Caroline, who lives on the Fens estate, in Hartlepool, is currently studying for a Higher National Certificate in Building Services while working four days a week at the company.

Jason Emmerson, head of school for building services and environmental technologies, said: “Caroline is a star pupil and she is a great ambassador for Gus Robinson Developments.”

The College of Further Education is the largest provider of apprenticeship training in Teesside and County Durham with more than 700 apprentices.

Sir Paul Nicholson, the Lord Lieutenant of County Durham attended the ceremony and said: “It is an honour to be among such talent.”

Michael Bretherick, college principal and chief executive said: “We are delighted with the progress we have made in establishing our curriculum specialisms, and were particularly pleased this year to be named as North-East hub for that National Skills Academy in Environmental Technologies, to add to our membership of three other NSAs in process, manufacturing and nuclear engineering.

“We are proud of the fact that our staff, through their tireless efforts, have helped to create over 300 jobs for apprentices this year alone.”

Gus Robinson was well-known in the town due to his work in business and in boxing, with his success seeing him awarded the MBE in the 1998 New Year’s Honours List.

See Tuesday’s Mail for a full list and more pictures of the award winners.