A MATURE student flew the flag for Inverclyde on one of the TV’s toughest quiz shows.

Paul Dijkman was part of the Strathclyde University team who triumphed over Imperial College London on BBC Two’s ‘University Challenge’ show.

The 50-year-old, who lives in Robert Street in Port Glasgow, kept his cool as razor-sharp host Jeremy Paxman fired the questions.

Paul said: “It was really nerve wracking to actually be there and waiting to press the buzzer.

“There are so many different technical details that you don’t know about if you are just watching the show.

“I’m really pleased and surprised by how much positive interest there has been.”

Paul’s team triumphed by 20 points.

He added: “The captain answered most of the questions, but we all participated in the follow-up questions.

“Everybody has been asking me what Jeremy Paxman was like but I found him perfectly pleasant.”

Paul, who is studying for a degree in economics and finance, is now looking forward to round two.

He added: “It’s not really possible to study for it because there is such a wide range of different subject matter.

“There are a few things we can swot up on and normally my areas of expertise are history and geography.”

Paul has worked all his life in various jobs and is well travelled.

He said: “My mum is from Scotland and my grandparents lived in Glasgow and Edinburgh but they moved to South Africa so I was born in Johannesburg.

“My father’s parent’s came from Holland, so that’s why I have a Dutch surname.

“When I was 19 we then moved to Canada but I moved back here and I’ve been living in Port Glasgow for the past two years.

“I really like it and love the fact that I’m by the water.

“The first time I came to Inverclyde I couldn’t believe how lovely it was.

“I’d only heard that it was a post industrial area.”

Going to university as a mature student allowed Paul to fulfill a lifelong ambition.

He added: “I have been working my whole life, since I was 17, just doing different jobs.

“I never got round to doing a degree so I just decided that because I have lot of experience in my life, I’m more prepared for the challenges of university so I thought I have the opportunity now.

“Economics is something I have always been interested in, the way that finance and money interacts with people.”