A young Scottish drummer who suffers from autism is setting out to attend a top US music school this week after an appeal for funds to achieve his dream.
Ciaran Roberts-Osterberg, 20, from Broughty Ferry in Dundee, who was bullied at school, says he is “completely ecstatic and can’t believe it is happening”.
Ciaran, who was a pupil at Grove Academy had been advised by a teacher to seek solace from his tormenters at lunch breaks in the school’s music room.
It was during this time that his gift for music, particularly drumming, emerged.
On Friday morning he will travel to Edinburgh airport to begin his journey to attend Berklee (College of Music in Boston.
Ciaran had won a scholarship to study for a Bachelor’s Degree in music performance (drum set) but was far short of the £60,000 needed for his first year’s fees.
Since his story appeared in The Scotsman in June Ciaran’s GoFundMe page donations have been boosted to £57,000.
Berklee have agreed to allow him to set up a payment plan for the remaining £3,000. College officials indicated that depending on his progress, scholarship funding may be made available for the remaining three years of the degree.
Without the money Ciaran would not have been able to apply for a student visa.
Among the high-profile supporters were author Ian Rankin who donated £500 and Steve Garratt, of the Black Crows, who gave £150.
Ciaran who has been honing his drumming in preparation for the move, said: “It’s a dream come true. I am extremely grateful to every single person who donated to help me go to Berklee.”
Christina Roberts-Osterberg, Ciaran’s mother, who will travel to Berklee to help her son settle in, said: “The response after The Scotsman article was just phenomenal. It was such a turning point.
“Ciaran had such a range of people donating. Two investment bankers each sent cheques for £1,000. An 83-year-old woman has set up a £5 a week standing order from now ‘until she goes’. That means so much that she gave when money was so tight, That could be a meal or two a week for her.
“The RBS branch is Broughty Ferry has waived bank charges when it can and Abdul who works there has organised free transport to the airport for us and Ciaran’s four suitcases, electric piano and drum kit. Delta Airline have waived his baggage fees. It is all beyond belief.”