A LITTLE under five years ago, Hannah Wood was recovering in hospital after a bottle attack left her scarred and partially blinded.
But yesterday the 22-year-old from Livingston overcame the pain and trauma and graduated with a BDes honours degree in product design from Edinburgh Napier University.
Mum told me I could live my life letting the person who did this make me a victim or I could accept it, carry on and let it make me stronger. So that’s what I did.Hannah Wood
It had been a long journey since the incident in October 2011 at the Grand Central Club in her home town.
The student suffered serious injuries when a beer bottle was lobbed into the crowd, hitting her on the face and shattering on impact.
She was left with scars to her forehead and chest, and limited vision in her left eye, forcing her to undergo several operations and a difficult court case.
“One day I remember feeling like my life was over and there was no point going back to university,” Hannah said, recalling the ordeal.
“But my mum told me I could live my life letting the person who did this make me a victim or I could accept it, carry on and let it make me stronger. So that’s what I did.”
Hospital visits meant Hannah missed several classes following the incident. She also began to suffer social anxiety.
This was made worse when she had to explain her injuries to her new classmates after having to repeat first year. But university staff and her family persuaded her to carry on with the course.
She said: “I have dreams and flashbacks to the incident, and talking about it can leave me shaking and short of breath.
“I have also had to re-learn to do a lot of things as it’s quite overwhelming to suddenly have no peripheral vision or depth perception on one side. I would misjudge steps or reach out and miss when someone passed me something.
“The sight I have left is comparable with opening your eyes under water. I can see shape and colour but no detail.
“I still need eye drops throughout the day and before I sleep as my scar has tightened on my eyelid and left a gap when my eye is closed. I will need plastic surgery at some point to break up this scar and allow my eye to fully close.”
In February 2014, a man stood trial over the nightclub incident – but he was later cleared.
Hannah described the build-up and court case as “extremely stressful” and said having no justice “felt like another slap in the face”.
Richard Firth, Edinburgh Napier’s programme leader for BDes product design, said he was “full of admiration” for the graduate.
He said: “During her time at the university, she has at no point made an issue of her injuries, even when it’s been clear that some situations have been challenging for her.”
He added: “It is a credit to her personality and strength of character that she has successfully graduated.”