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Fund for students aged 55 and over chooses its first recipient

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A Fund to support retired residents in Caithness and north Sutherland, aged 55 or over and who are studying for personal development, has made its first award – to an Open University student.

Colin Matheson, a retired engineer, is currently working towards an integrated Masters Degree in Engineering (MEng). 

He started his career as a Dounreay apprentice, before going on to work with Shell. 

An accident led to early retirement and Colin now greatly enjoys studying with the OU, as it allows him to achieve his ambition to keep mentally active – a sentiment much in keeping with the spirit of the Fund.

The Daniel McLean Memorial Fund aims to support students with The Open University and with other learning providers. 

A sum of £1,000 is set aside each year to allocate to one or more recipients, where financial considerations create a restraint to the pursuit of their study. The funding can be used towards course-related travel, books or equipment, or to pay fees.

The Fund was set up in memory of the late Daniel (Danny) McLean, who began studying with The OU in Scotland aged 67. 

Daniel had served with the Royal Naval Reserve during World War Two, being dispatched across the globe. He worked for Glasgow’s Templeton Carpet Factory, and later for what was then Strathclyde Regional Council. Prior to retirement, Daniel had also run his own newsagent business.

Daniel graduated from The Open University with a Bachelor of Arts (Ordinary) Open degree in Humanities, particularly focused on music and history, and went on to gain an Honours Degree. 

He later continued his OU journey with a Postgraduate Certificate and Diploma in Humanities, which included courses as diverse as the histories of cinema, and crime and policing.

Daniel’s wife Heather said: 

“Retirement gave Danny the chance to follow his lifelong dream of studying to gain further qualifications. He relished and greatly appreciated the opportunities offered him by The Open University. The day he graduated with his BA degree was one of the proudest days of his life.

“It would be Danny’s wish that other pensioners in Caithness and North Sutherland be helped to experience the fulfilment and pleasure he gained from education. That is what the Daniel McLean Memorial Fund aims to achieve.”

Find out more about the Fund and how to apply


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