FOR 19-year-old Grace Purnell, a scholarship from Durham University has opened up “a field of opportunities”.

Miss Purnell, from Hartlepool, is in her second year and is studying Environmental Geoscience having switched from natural sciences after discovering a passion for geology during her first year.

Alongside her academic studies she was on the production team for the summer musical at St Mary’s College, joined the College hockey team and hopes to take up basketball in her second year.

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On top of that, Miss Purnell is also a member of the Durham Palaeontological Society and Geology for Global Development.

Miss Purnell, a former student at St Hild’s Church of England School, Hartlepool, and Bede Sixth Form College, Billingham, credits her scholarship for helping her take full advantage of life at Durham.

She received the Brian Cooper Scholarship which supports young people from County Durham with tuition fees, living expenses, and other costs associated with Higher Education.

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Miss Purnell said: “Thanks to the scholarship, I’ve never had to turn down an opportunity at Durham because of money, which is something that would have been a significant barrier to me.

“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know people who I wouldn’t have otherwise met and I’ve done a lot of things I hadn’t done before.

“Anyone thinking of applying to Durham absolutely should.

"It’s one of the best choices I ever made and as soon as I got here I knew I was in the right place."

“And if you’re thinking about applying for a scholarship, absolutely do. Even if you don’t think you’ll get it, just apply for it because you never know what’s going to happen. It really can be life-changing - and it was.”

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