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Artist brings student diner back to life

Fife artist Jack Vettriano has made a substantial contribution towards the transformation of a student diner dating back to the 19th century.

The former miner and self-taught contemporary artist, who was born in St Andrews, donated the gift to the University of St Andrews Old Union Diner, an alternative late- night venue which first opened in 1891.

The new and improved coffee shop and meeting place – boasting a bright, new design and new seating and toilets – will be officially opened on the evening of Friday 11 October 2002 after being closed for 12 months for refurbishment.

Jack’s donation follows his involvement as patron and honorary artistic director of this year’s “Don’t Walk” University of St Andrews Charities Campaign Fashion Show.

Jack Vettriano said, “I was touched by the fact that the students asked me to take part in the fashion show and amazed at the response I got so I made some inquiries on how I could give something back. This venture was a great way of helping the students and it’s fantastic to return and see the diner refurbished and ready for use again.”

In addition to the donation, Jack has donated his drum kit to the University Music Centre.

Jack said, “Since I was a wee boy, I thought I could be Ringo Star so I bought a second-hand drum kit a few years ago. Unfortunately, I soon found out I was never going to be Ringo and the drums have been gathering dust ever since, so I’m glad to see them finally going to good use.”

Mr Vettriano’s donation is complimented by a gift from alumni Patrick Foster, BSc 1974, his wife Anne (Dryden) Foster, BSc 1973 and in memory of her father Douglas Dryden, MA 1941.

Mr Foster said, “People of my era have fond memories of the diner and, as students, we spent a considerable part of our time there. When it was closed down, we felt that we had to do something. By helping the new and improved diner re-open, we are not only preserving a memory and continuing a tradition but providing an ideal social venue for today’s students. It’s also encouraging that the students see it as such a priority that they are willing to put their own money into it.”

The refurbishment was also funded by around £14,000 from the Students’ Association, a cost which Rory O’Hare, President of the Students’ Association believes will be a worthwhile investment – “To have someone like Jack Vettriano getting involved with the University is a great thing for all of us here. Even though we are removed from the mainstream of the art world, to know that someone of Vettriano’s stature is willing to support student projects is an affirmation of the work we are doing to improve the University for the students.”

ENDS

NOTE TO EDITORS – You are invited to send a reporter/photographer to the Old Union Diner, North Street, St Andrews at 12.30pm on Friday 11 October 2002 when Jack Vettriano; Mr and Mrs Foster; and Jennifer Dumas, Director of Development will be available for photographs/interviews, along with a group of University students. For directions to the diner, please call Claire Grainger on 07730 415 015.

Issued by Beattie Media on behalf of the University of St Andrews For more information please contact: Claire Grainger on 01334 462530, 07730 415 015 or email cg24@st- andrews.ac.uk View University press releases on- line at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk Ref: olduniondiner/standrews/chg/10oct20 02

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