Sunderland student honoured for her efforts

Morton's prize winner Beth Shehata
Morton's prize winner Beth Shehata
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LEGAL eagle Beth Shehata is flying high.

Beth is this year’s winner of the Mortons Solicitors Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Law at the University of Sunderland.

She received her award alongside her law degree in a graduation ceremony at the Stadium of Light.

It crowned a year in which she also founded and was named president of the Students’ Law Society, worked with Tees Valley Women’s Centre and helped to raise more than £18,00 for charities.

Beth decided to set up the students’ law society at the university’s faculty of business and law to increase chances for students to gain experience and network with others.

The society set up a training contract application workshop with Dickinson Dees and a client interviewing competition, ran mock trials, organised an advocacy workshop with two barristers from Trinity Chambers and entered a team – the Wearside Wonders – in the national Law School Challenge, which raised £1,023.43 for the Bar Pro Bono Unit and Law Works charities.

Amy Purvis, programme leader for the undergraduate law degree at the University of Sunderland said: “Beth is a worthy winner of the Mortons award because she has contributed a huge amount to the law department and to her placements.

The student law society now has around 100 members and is a testament to Beth’s commitment and determination. I’m sure Beth will continue to shine in her future career.

Businessman Paul Martin had double cause for celebration when he graduated, picking up both a BA in counselling and a PGCE in education and training, but to Paul it seemed like a completely logical decision.

Paul was working in the recruitment and HR consultancy sector when he began thinking about a change.

“I wasn’t entirely happy with my professional life,” he said. “I was successful, but it just wasn’t making me happy any more.”

Paul had always been fascinated by psychology and decided to sign up for a basic 15-week counselling course at Darlington College while he was still working, which led on to a Foundation Degree in Counselling, run through Bishop Auckland College by the University of Sunderland and, finally, a full degree.

“I finished my Foundation Degree and to my surprise the tutors at Bishop Auckland offered me a teaching placement with pay,” he said.

“A practising counsellor tends not to work with clients for much more than 20 hours a week, because of the intense nature of the job. It seemed a good plan to have something to run alongside the counselling, and teaching seemed like the right choice.”

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