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A Nescot graduate who faints up to 60 times a day due to a heart condition has beaten competition from all over the UK to be named BTEC Land-Based Student of the Year 2015.

Megan Taylor, who completed her Level 3 BTEC in Animal Studies with a triple-starred distinction in summer 2014, was honoured at the National BTEC Awards in London on Tuesday (July 7).

The 19-year-old, who is now studying Animal Behaviour and Welfare at Kingston University, returned to Nescot on Friday (July 3), where she was presented with flowers by Epsom and Ewell MP Chris Grayling.

“I was so shocked when I found out I got the award that I just started crying,” said Megan, who also won Animal Studies Student of the Year and the Governors’ Prize at Nescot’s 2013 Further Education Awards.

“It means so much to me that people believe in me. I had the best time at Nescot, it literally changed my life and I’d recommend BTECs to anyone.”

Megan fainted at a Remembrance Sunday service in 2011 and hit her head on the kerb and fracturing her skull in three places.
The resulting injury meant she lost the hearing from the left side of her head, and she now wears a hearing aid. It also affected her balance, causing constant dizziness.

Megan faints an average of six to eight times daily, but sometimes fifty to sixty times. Some episodes are caused by her heart condition, vasovagal syncope with ventricular standstill, but the majority remain unexplained.

Megan’s current and past volunteering includes Chessington Zoo, Sea Shepherd UK, The Wildlife Heritage Foundation’s Big Cat Sanctuary, and Pets as Therapy with her dog Ruby – who has in turn been nominated for a Blue Cross Medal and PDSA Order of Merit.

In addition, she has done the Three Peaks challenge for Help for Heroes, run a half marathon for the National Deaf Children’s Society, worked at a children’s farm, started a business making and selling tools for survival, been a Cub Scout Leader and Kindness Ambassador, and hopes to volunteer at the Lilongwe Wildlife Centre in Malawi next year.

“Megan utterly deserves this award and all it represents,” said Cliff Hall, Head of College at Nescot.

“Not only did she work so hard throughout her time at Nescot, and finish her course with the highest grades possible, but she throws herself into helping people and animals in every way she can think of, and she does it all with grace, humility and a smile on her face.”

The National BTEC Awards, now in their fifth year, were hosted by comedian Rob Beckett at the Royal Horticultural Halls after a reception in the House of Commons for the winners, nominators and family and friends.

Megan attended with her boyfriend Michael as well as Rebecca Dean, Animal Studies Section Leader, and Jason Asling, who was her group tutor.

In 2013 Computing student Mehreen Rana was named Computing Student of the Year at the awards, and also won the overall BTEC Student of the Year title.

The awards are organised by Pearson, which owns BTEC, and are aimed at recognising the almost one million students who study the qualifications each year. This year Pearson received more than 800 nominations across the 20 award categories.