An Australian student has met with a long lost relative – fulfilling a long-held ambition.
Alison Ritchie’s maternal great, great, great-grandfather, Dr David Rennet, taught at Aberdeen University 150 years ago.
Dr David Rennet, who lived between 1828 and 1914, was a mathematical coach at the university until the early 20th century.
In university records, the Kincardineshire-born academic was noted as being an extremely popular lecturer who spoke in broad Doric while teaching.
He was also noted for his skill in helping exceedingly bright students as well as those who were not as academically accomplished.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
In honour of his contribution to Aberdeen University, the David Rennet Gold Medal was inaugurated in 1897 and is still handed out today as the top prize for problem solving in mathematics and physics.
Now his great, great, great, grand-daughter, has had the chance to come face to face with her relative.
Ms Ritchie, a pharmacy student from Perth in Western Australia, decided to continue her studies in Aberdeen last year.
And Ms Ritchie, who moved from Inverbervie to Australia in 2004 when she was just nine, was recently able to see the portrait of her relative which still hangs in the Picture Gallery at Marischal College.
It proved to be an emotional reunion for the former University of Western Australia student.
She said: “Looking at his portrait, he reminds me of one of my mum’s uncles, so there must be a familial look.
“My uncle didn’t have the same long beard though.
“From what I’ve read about him, he seemed to be a very kind to his students; an approachable man with an interesting teaching style.
“Apparently he would only help a student once he was sure they had given it a good try on their own first.
“He didn’t spoon-feed them the answers.
“It’s great to finally be here and get to see the painting first hand – it’s been a great experience.”