Staff at North West Regional College have paid tribute to two of their former students with posthumous awards during their annual Best in FE ceremony.
Students Arthur McCloskey (48) and Colin Archibald (19), who were studying Art and Design and Electrotechnical Systems respectively, both had their lives tragically cut short in separate incidents during the past 12 months.
Father of two Arthur McCloskey passed away suddenly in early 2019, after contracting bacterial Meningitis. Colin Archibald was tragically killed in a car accident in Dungiven in May 2018.
On Friday, members of the two men’s families attended an awards ceremony at the Millennium Forum celebrating more than 250 of the best of the college’s further education learners studying courses at Level 1, 2 and 3.
During the event Arthur’s daughter Ciara, and Colin’s brother Raphael, accepted the awards in their memory.
Arthur McCloskey’s sister Rosaleen said: “I know that my brother would have been glad to know that we were here today accepting the award on his behalf, in recognition of his achievements.
“Arthur’s sudden death has been a terrible shock to the whole family, and we are still coming to terms with it. However, we have been comforted by the many kind words that have been spoken about him.
“He was a mature student, coming to Strand Road, to study Art, but the course gave him a real purpose in life and a great focus. He was very popular with the other students, but that was Arthur, he was very funny, he loved the craic and he would have encouraged others.
“The Art students at the college were working on a project with Arthur which was unfinished at the time of his death. However they have remembered him in a special way by using a recording of his voice.
“The family were invited in to listen to this, and it was surreal hearing Arthur’s voice as part of the exhibition. However it was a wonderful tribute and a lovely way to remember someone who was so special. The students also presented us with a memory box full of candles with little messages of their memories of Arthur. Every time I look it, it makes me smile.”
Colin Archibald’s mum Natasha said the family were deeply moved that the college had decided to remember her son, and recognise him with the award.
She said: “I only wish that Colin was here and able to collect the award himself. His death was a terrible shock and we keep expecting him to walk through the door.
“Colin had almost completed his course and was looking forward to becoming a fully qualified electrician. We know he would have gone on to be hugely successful in his career.
“He was a very popular boy and enjoyed being at college with his friends. Everyone liked Colin, and we remember him for his quiet, good natured personality.
“After he died, we were amazed by how many people came to the house to see us and tell us their memories.
“It’s comforting to be around the people he knew at the college and we, as a family are very grateful to have this award to remember Colin and we are glad that we were able to be here today to collect it on his behalf.”