A Newport student who lost both parents in the saddest of circumstances has turned tragedy into triumph by winning a prestigious award.
Jamie Reid (23) won the prize for ‘outstanding commitment’ at a ceremony at Dundee and Angus College last week.
His parents, Susan and Keith, would have been immensely proud of their once unambitious son.
But Susan was found dead in Tentsmuir Forest last March , three months after she went missing from home - and Keith died almost exactly a year later, having suffered from multiple sclerosis.
It was Susan’s disappearance that actually inspired Jamie to go to college after a doing a string of jobs that were leading nowhere.
“I didn’t have a focus as a teenager at school and hadn’t really decided what to do with my life,” said Jamie.
“It wasn’t until my mum went missing that I should get out and do something more positive.
“ She always said I wasn’t living up to my potential and I wanted to do something that would have made her proud.”
Jamie enrolled on the SWAP access to humanities and community education course, which is aimed at people who have been out of education for at least three years.
But during the one-year course Jamie was faced with further anguish when his father and grandfather died within a few weeks of each other.
“Both of them had been ill for a long time but despite that it was a terrible shock,” said Jamie.
Now he’s heading to university in September to study social work and hopes to eventually work with the elderly and vulnerable adults.
“My father had MS for as long as I can remember and my mum was his carer,” he said.
“So I’m aware of how difficult it can be and how much people need support in such circumstances .”
Jamie’s also passionate about mental health issues and following Susan’s disappearance he raised thousands for the Scottish Association for Mental Health, a charity with which he’s still involved.
Susan was just 56 when she went missing in January 2014, sparking an intensive search that ended in heartbreak when her remains were found in the forest three months later.
Jamie, an only child, was left with the terrible task of telling his dad and arranging the funeral - something he says he couldn’t have done without the support of his girlfriend Heather and Aunt Lesley, Susan’s sister.
Both were among the 350-strong audience at the college prize-giving ceremony and looked on with pride as Jamie was presented with his award.