A pair of West Kilbride’s lockdown heroes say they are excited to head off to university despite concerns over covid-19 on campus’ and in student accommodation.

Christopher Ribbeck and Beth Honeyman were vital to the community through their work in the village’s pharmacy, earning praise for their dedication to helping locals in need.

Now they are ready for the next step of their journey, and the pair say they are looking forward to making the transition to university despite the current problems surrounding students.

Christopher is travelling to Dundee University in the next few weeks to study medicine, and says he is excited to start the next chapter, despite not being able to have a proper first year experience.

He said: “What I’ve been told by the university is that it’s going to taught through blended learning, with most of the lectures online and practical classes in the hospital will be face to face wearing PPE.

“At the moment I’m just looking forward to getting started. My course was already pushed back a month and after such a long time I’m very excited to start this next chapter of my life.

“I already know that my first year will not be a normal experience, with the group that I will be sharing my dorm with the only students I’m permitted to socialise with inside.

“Whilst I understand the need for the restrictions it doesn’t make it any less frustrating because I had hoped to meet lots of new people and spend time indulging in the full university experience.

“However, that will all need to be put on hold for the time being, I will still get to meet new friends within my dorm and I am grateful for the fact that my course is still going ahead.”

Universities across the UK have seen outbreaks of covid-19 as students begin to move in, with many halls of residence places in lockdown and hundreds of young people isolating.

Christopher says that despite the disappointment of the current restrictions leading to a lack of social activity, it is important that students continue to follow the rules.

He said: “Dundee is one of the universities that was hit heavily by the covid-19 outbreaks amongst students but thankfully it wasn’t in the dorms which I’ll be staying in.

“I know that if I follow the restrictions and just stick to my group of six for the time being then I will be fine.

“I am aware however how easily it could spread to my accommodation and I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that meeting people outside of my own dorm is a big risk.

“I think it is important that students understand this and follow the guidelines as frustrating as they may be, because it won’t be forever, and I will get to experience full university life eventually.”

Beth is staying slightly closer to home at the University of the West of Scotland campus in Ayr, where she will study primary teaching.

She too is nervous about the outbreaks at universities but is remaining positive about the whole experience ahead.

She said: “I am doing all of my work from home at the moment, but the university is hopeful that we will begin blended learning soon.

“It is nerve wracking beginning anything new, but I am looking forward to meeting new people when we can and starting my degree.

“I think the socialising aspect will be harder as we haven’t been able to all meet at university during the induction week, but we have all been able to speak online and talk about our course.

“It is always concerning hearing about an outbreak or a rise in cases and I feel sorry for students in accommodation as they are unable to have the full university experience.”