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The Merchistonian Award 2016 - Stephen Biggart (96-03)
When Stephen joined Merchiston he was following in his brother, father and grandfather’s footsteps, being the third generation of the Biggart family to attend, Stephen had very high standards to aspire to.

Stephen excelled on the playing field at School and became an incredible sportsman. At Merchiston, his sporting achievements included competing in the 1st XV rugby team, 1st XI cricket team, golf team, 1st pair fives and he even got to the semis of the National Fives Championship. He represented Edinburgh at U16, and Scotland and Edinburgh at U18 level in rugby and continued on to represent Scotland at U19 and U21 level after School where he played in a World Cup in South Africa.

Not only did Stephen excel in sports he also did so academically and this was cemented when he was awarded the Gibson scholarship for academic achievement. He then went on to study medicine at Glasgow University in 2002. From a young age medicine was his goal, and he worked consistently hard to reach it. Stephen is known as a very kind and deeply caring individual. His genuine care and concern for other people is what led him to become a doctor. Ironically, after spending years caring for others, in 2015 Stephen was diagnosed with thyroid cancer after noticing a lump in his neck.

He subsequently had his thyroid and some lymph nodes in his neck (where the cancer had spread) removed. The doctor told him at the time, if there is any cancer to get, this is the one.

Stephen originally signed up to the Ride2Recovery ride with friends before his illness and despite his diagnosis, was still determined to take part. Ride2Recovery is far from an easy challenge; it was a gruelling 850km charity cycle over six days from Barcelona to Biarritz on the Atlantic and includes some of the famous mountain passes of the Pyrenees. Prior to signing up to the event he spoke with his doctors who agreed for him to take part on the proviso that he got in the broom wagon if struggling at any point.

Whilst recovering from an operation in April 2015 Stephen was undergoing training for the demanding event, which he knew would be a struggle but was determined not to let life pass him by. On 21 June 2015 he began his charity cycle to help raise money for others affected by the illness.

David Kirkpatrick (97-03) and Ross McClymont (01-02) also completed the cycle alongside him. This was their third instalment over the last six years with the first two being London to Morzine and Morzine to Nice. The gentlemen plan a fourth trip in the Dolomites next year; each trip is getting a little bit harder. To date the group has raised over £300k for Aspire!

Both David and Ross applaud Stephen’s efforts and attitude while on the cycle.

David stated that:
“Steve never once gave up and completed every day with a smile on his face and a beer in his hand – and to be fair didn’t ever have a ’moment’, which is more than can be said for the rest of us. On day four of the trip, which would have been categorized as a very hard day on the Tour de France, we climbed four cols (going steeply uphill for over 50km!); Steve started at 7am and finished cycling at 6pm.”
The Ride2Recovery guys were very supportive and were keen for Stephen to raise money for his charity of choosing. Stephen found the resources and support he received to be invaluable, and for this reason decided to fundraise for Maggie’s cancer centres.

Stephen’s father, former Merchistonian Club Secretary and Golf Captain has enjoyed playing golf with his son during his recovery period, at Gullane Golf Club where he is now Captain. Stephen has renewed his dedication to golf where he has managed to drop his handicap to four and is hot on the heels of his old friend and nemesis, Mike Rolland (98-03).

There is no doubt that along with Stephen’s positive attitude the support of his friends, fiancé Caroline and family was instrumental in aiding his recovery.

In his own words...“It’s not until something like this happens to you that you appreciate the phrase ‘life is too short’ and ‘make the most of what time you have’ but now these words hold some resonance with me. I am lucky in that following completion of treatment I will make a full recovery and continue to do the things I love. I hope this inspires you to donate to a very worthwhile cause and in my opinion a charity that helps people deal with the hardest part of being diagnosed with cancer.”


If you would like to submit a nomination for the Merchistonian Award 2017, please contact the Club Secretary at merchistonians@merchiston.co.uk by 29 February 2017 with supporting testimony.


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