Belfast student praised for tribute to dad Graham Dean
A Belfast student has thanked hundreds of readers for their messages of support after she wrote movingly about the passing of her father.
Rachel Dean's father Graham died suddenly three years ago shortly before she was due to sit her A-Level exams. The shock threw her family into turmoil and left her chances of a university career in doubt.
Writing in yesterday's Belfast Telegraph, she spoke out about the painful experience and her pride that she would now fulfil her father's wish by graduating from Queen's University on Monday.
Hundreds passed on their messages of support on social media, with many sharing their own experiences.
"I've had so many messages, people I haven't spoken to in years, to say they were moved by it and others said they were crying," Rachel said.
"I let my mum read the story first, she said she was so proud which was lovely. My family and friends all said they felt so emotional reading it."
Sharing such a personal experience in public, she said, had not been easy. "Although I've spoken to my family about it, this was one of the first times I've written it all down. I haven't even felt able to read the article back myself.
"It was nice to see all of the comments on Facebook, some people said they had been through similar experiences and that it was really heartwarming."
During her time at Queen's, Rachel has also written the weekly Fashion Spy column for this paper and hopes to continue her career in journalism.
"It would be nice to take a short break now, but I would love to get more involved in journalism and expand on what I've already had the chance to do with Fashion Spy."