Hundreds of medical students who were displaced by Hurricane Irma have been formally welcomed to Preston.Advertisement
A civic reception was held at Preston Guild Hall by the Mayor of Preston councillor Brian Rollo.
The 650 strong cohort from the Caribbean School of Medicine have been based in the city since Sint Maarten, where their campus was based, was struck by the storm.
Mayor Rollo was joined by the deputy chief of mission of the US Embassay in London Lew Lukens, the Lord Lieutenant of Lancashire Lord Shuttleworth, Preston MP Mark Hendrick and chief executive of Marketing Lancashire Ruth Connor in welcome the students with speeches.
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Cllr Rollo said: “I am proud that Preston and the University of Central Lancashire could help and welcome the staff and students from the American University of the Caribbean.
“This ensures studies can continue and life can carry on as normally as possible while they’re away from home.
“The Guild Hall event was a fantastic way to formally greet them with our usual, warm Preston welcome. We hope they enjoy their time in our city.”
The University of Central Lancashire has stepped in to help the medical students continue their studies in the wake of the storm.
Vice-chancellor Professor Mike Thomas said: “We are delighted to see Preston City Council welcome AUC into the community and really make the staff and students feel at home. The fact that they are medical students brings this sense of community even closer, as the students will be working in our local hospitals in East Lancashire during their clinical placements.
“The University has a set of shared principals and compassion, teamwork and attention to detail are at the centre of these. Our staff and Students’ Union have demonstrated these qualities in abundance to enable this partnership to become a reality and form a base for exciting future development.”
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The students posed for pictures and enjoyed a chance to share their experiences since arriving in Preston last month.
Second-semester AUC student Ricardo Barranon said: “We are incredibly grateful to Preston and UCLan for welcoming us and enabling AUC students to continue our medical education.
“To move an entire medical school across the Atlantic in a matter of weeks is incredible and shows the resilience of students who have been through a very traumatic time. We are looking at our time at UCLan as a new adventure.”