AROUND 160 Borders College graduates were rewarded for their academical ability on Friday.

The annual ceremony at Kelso's Springwood Park was a day of celebration.

And taking pride of place among the special guests was Nick Bannerman, who was presented with an Honorary Fellowship for his work in promoting the Borders textiles industry around the world.

College Principal Angela Cox handed over the Fellowship to the Managing Director of Hawick-based Johnstons of Elgin.

Educated at Hawick High School and Edinburgh University, Nick started his career as an accountant before going on to work in the local textile industry, firstly with Peter Scott, then Johnstons of Elgin.

There were many other success stories on offer throughout Friday with Rachael McIntosh (HNC Animal Care) receiving the Best Higher Education Student award.

Rachael, from Edinburgh, was described as a ‘very conscientious student’ who always put in the extra effort required to excel in her studies.

Rachael received a glowing report from her work placement, where she became a valued team member.

She has successfully secured a place at SRUC (Scotland’s Rural College), where she is studying Applied Animal Science.

Charlie Blance (HNC Game and Wildlife Management) was awarded the Workbased Learning Award. The Perth-based student secured a placement with Scottish Natural Heritage on the Isle of Rum.

During this time she carried out tasks varying from habitat, bird and mammal surveys to culling deer, at all times in a mature and professional manner.

Charlie is an accomplished photographer, and her keen eye for wildlife led her to be sponsored by a major sporting goods supplier.

She was awarded HNC Gamekeeping Student of the Year as well as Best Overall Student for the Landbased Faculty.

And she has successfully secured a position as gamekeeper/stalker/gilly at Dunan Estate, situated on the banks of the River Gaur on Rannoch Moor.

Gina Walker from Duns was named as Scottish Motor Trade Apprentice of the Year.

Gina first attended Borders College as an apprentice in September 2016, where she was employed with Aitken Walker Cars.

During her three years at Borders College, where she was studying for the City & Guilds SVQ/VRQ Level 2 and 3 Modern Apprentice award, she excelled in all areas, especially her portfolio work, which was to a very high standard.

The Stuart Wilkie Memorial Trophy was presented to David Manuel. During his three years at Borders College, studying for the City & Guilds SVQ/VRQ Level 2 and 3 Modern Apprentice award, the Kelso student's work has been of a very high standard.

The Exceptional Achievement Award went to Rhys Boni from Jedburgh, who was an attendee at College for a number of years progressing to achieve his NC Level 6.

Rhys has since found employment in Kelso and undertook his apprenticeship under the Scottish Electrical Charitable Training Trust (SECTT) training scheme.

Rhys won the UK Skills competition in Birmingham against electrical apprentices from all over the UK in 2018.

This year’s Best Access Student Award was presented to Duncan Murray from Earlston.

Duncan progressed onto Skills for Learning & Work at Borders College and, in August, he was successful in securing a place on SVQ1 Amenity Horticulture.

During his time on the Skills for Learning & Work course, Duncan was always committed to his work and had a number of successful work experience placements.

A Special Recognition Award was presented to Dave Black

Dave from St Boswels, a lecturer in Engineering and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), has worked at Borders College for 16 years, and was presented with the award in recognition of his services to Land-based Engineering and STEM subjects.