CELEBRATIONS got underway at York Minster as the cathedral played host to this year's York College graduation ceremony.

Canon Christopher Collingwood from York Minster welcomed graduands and guests and an opening address was given by principal Dr Alison Birkinshaw, followed by a key note speech from Sir Gary Verity, chief executive of Welcome to Yorkshire. The vote of thanks was given by chairman of governors, Shirley Collier.

This year 77 per cent of students graduating from BA programmes achieved a First Class or 2:1 degree classification, 67 per cent of foundation degree graduates achieved a merit or distinction grade and 85 per cent of HNC graduates achieved a merit or distinction grade.

Special prizes were awarded to the following students: HE Student of the Year

Ben Porter (post graduation certificate in education); Most Determined Student of the Year; Joseph Whiteley (BA Hons management); Governors’ Award; Frederick Ayres (foundation degree computer systems, design and solutions).

Andrea Shepherd, the college's assistant principal for higher education, said: "Graduating in the wonderful surroundings of York Minster is a fabulous way to celebrate the hard work and dedication of all our higher education students.

"This very special occasion is not only for our students, it just as important for their proud families and friends who have supported them throughout their studies.

"I congratulate all our graduates and wish them every success in their future careers.”

One of the stand out stories from the night was that of 25-year-old former footballer Ashleigh Trainer who was forced to face the realities of life-changing sporting injuries and now intends to forge a new career, working in athletics as a sports therapist in the USA.

Graduating with a BSc (Hons) in sports therapy, Ashleigh recalls the devastation she felt in 2012, whilst in the second year of her football scholarship at the Northern Oklahoma College USA, as goalkeeper, she was badly injured as she dived for a ball. This turn of events then meant Ashleigh was flown home for surgery on her dislocated knee and badly torn ligaments – bringing her promising footballing career in the States to an abrupt halt.

Being unable to play professional football and return to the States, Ashleigh was forced to stay in the UK, leaving her American fiancée waiting on the other side of the pond.

Ashleigh said: “I needed to take stock of my future and make a career change. It made sense to turn my attentions to sports therapy, which is absolutely massive in the States. With hundreds of sports teams needing treatments it seemed the obvious avenue for me to pursue.

“I decided to research the best places to study sports therapy in the UK and found that York College offered the most reputable course, even though it meant I had to travel from Middlesbrough.

"The course has been brilliant and more in-depth than I anticipated. The tutors are very knowledgeable and I have learnt so much. After three years of study I am excited about the future; I have new skills that will enable me to embark on a new career in a different aspect of sport. My visa application is being processed and shortly I hope to be reunited with my fiancé – she has been very patient whilst I have been studying in the UK and will share my big moment when I finally graduate in York Minster. The last few years have been hard but with my sports therapy degree brings new opportunities for me.”

BA (Hons) Contemporary 3D Crafts

Jake Augur

Layla Khoo

Olivia Lawrenson

Lydia Munro

Dawn Ridsdel

Samantha Ursell

Sharon Wilkinson

BA (Hons Fashion Design and Production

Paula Delgado Ray

Lucy Sherwood

Ashleigh Timbs

Kellie Marie Walker

Sabrina Wharton-Brown

Lucy White

BA (Hons) Graphic Design

Oliver Georgiou

Sophie Holme

Chloe Jefferson

Chloe Jones

Sanem Koyupinar

Grace Leaverland

Alexandra Lee

Melissa Magson

Jessica Moses

James Wray

BA (Hons) Management

Constance Booth

Poppy Bringloe

Jonathan Bundy

Jason Butler

Mariama Camara

Megan Dyball

Maddison Ellis

Grace O’Neill

Ursula Upson

Zat Watson

Joseph Whiteley

FD Management with Business Studies

Kirstie Anderson

Thomas Barker

George Bringloe

Rosanna Guy

Savannah Hardwick

Bernardo Henriques

Alexandra Hilton

Daniella Makin

Ewan Miller

BA (Hons) Educational Leadership- Children’s Workforce

Zoe Allan

Hayley Baker

Samantha Bryan

Charlotte Cooper

Kaley Harsley

Megan Holmes

Donna McMahon

Victoria Prole

Allison Shirbon

Jennifer Taylor

Julie Tooke

Elizabeth Umpleby

Tracey White

FD Young Children’s Learning and Development

Sadie Bedingham

Kathryn Blackburn

Sarah Cairney

Sarah Charnick

Kirsty Dickinson

Chantelle Horner

Donna Hugill

Karen Long

Melissa Wilson

HNC Construction and the Built Environment

Benjamin Ainsley

Jack Barrand

Ashleigh Gemlo-Dunstan

Harry Hope

Sarah Hunt

Blaine Key

Joshua Popely

Megan Sadler

Chantelle Wrightson

FD Computer Systems, Design & Solutions

Frederick Ayres

Adam Frazik

Billy Plant

Gareth Walwyn

Rhys Wyrill

Postgraduate Certificate in Education

Janet Baker

Benjamin Clowes

Luke Lount

Benjamin Porter

Charlotte Salt

Lois Stothard

Professional Certificate in Education

Lindsey Bradbury

David Brown

Hester de Groot

Andrew Graham

Alana Miles

Tracey Palmer

Eleanor Standford

Certificate in Education

Natasha Dickson

Peter Harrison

Catherine Morin

Victoria Nettleship

Niall O’Reilly

Kylie Penn

Tamsin Winstanley

HNC Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Gavin Redshaw

Cameron Smith

Jonathon Turton

BA (Hons) Media Make-Up and Hair Design

Sian Barraclough

Hannah Brittain

Catherine Buglass

Alexandra Coates

Alice Curtis

Freya Davage

Josie Hancock

Laura Hill

FD Media Make-Up, Special Effects Make-Up & Hair

Jordan Anderson

Lindsey Barclay

Hollie Blackwell

Nicola Brown-De’Moulpied

Megan Cahill

Megan Caie

Alessandra Cammarata

Hannah Campbell

Melissa Charlton

Jordynn Clifford

Eleanor Cooke

Amanda Dillon

Chloe Fitzgerald

Aimée Foster

Emily Goran

Cherylene Grivon

Patricia Guerin

Bethany Jackson

Carris Jones

Hannah Judge

Susannah Kennedy

Isobel Leaverland

Bethan Lumley

Rebecca Maher

Nancy McGuigan

Isla Murray

Chrissy Newton

Megan Norris

Rachel Pedlingham

Emma Richards

Heather Rigg

Caitlin Roberts

Jodie Skerratt

Manon Tissier

Macy Varnham

Emily Verner

Keeley Westmoreland

Georgina Williamson

BA (Hons) Public Sector Management

Jake Fletcher

Hannah Holland

Peter Lawrence

Stephanie Thornley-Westerman

Tom Winters

FD Community & Public Services

Victoria Green

Maria Henriques

BSc (Hons) Sports Therapy

Eleanor Frank

Rachel Harding

Helen Lees

Jack Pinder

Ashleigh Trainer

FDSc in Sports Therapy

Gianni Gabbiadini

Rachel Gumley

Lisa Young