‘Adopted Manxie’ Suraiya Haddad has won the final of University Challenge 2024 as captain of the Imperial College London team.

Originally from Manchester, Suraiya’s grandmother Muriel King was born and raised in the island and her family would visit once a year.

Suraiya also undertook a month’s placement at Snaefell Surgery in Anagh Coar as part of her medical degree in 2022.

Suraiya Haddad during the University Challenge final
Suraiya Haddad during the University Challenge final (BBC)

Up against University College London (UCL), Imperial accumulated 285 points to UCL’s 120 - a record-breaking points tally for a University Challenge winning team.

Suraiya was presented with the trophy by host Amol Rajan and congratulated by famous playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard.

Suraiya being congratulated by playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard
Suraiya being congratulated by playwright and screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard (BBC)

She said: ‘It feels brilliant to be the captain of the winning side and the team is fantastic.

‘I also wanted to say thank you so much to UCL - a really lovely team who played brilliantly.’

Suraiya is an admirer of the Isle of Man, and recalled many fond memories of her family taking trips to the island when she was younger.

She said: ‘I distinctly remember leaving a nutcracker at the Fairy Bridge just before Christmas when I was younger. You’ve got to get a gift for the fairies!

‘I also remember us driving along Douglas Promenade while the waves were crashing over my Dad’s Land Rover. I absolutely loved it!’

During Suraiya’s month-long placement in Douglas, she met Carole Johnson - a practice manager at Snaefell Surgery.

Suraiya Haddad and Carole Johnson from Snaefell Surgery
Suraiya Haddad and Carole Johnson from Snaefell Surgery (N/A)

Describing her as a ‘wonderful woman’, Suraiya named Imperial’s toy otter mascot ‘Carole’ in her honour.

Suraiya said: ‘I was only there for a month, but Carole made me feel so at home and she was amazing. It was quite emotional because I felt like I was keeping a promise to my grandmother.

‘I really loved it at the surgery. I wasn’t there for long yet I was made to feel so welcome and part of the community.

‘I remember once mentioning in passing that I like blueberries, and a patient came in the next day and gave me a jar of homemade blueberry jam from Ramsey. Everyone is so kind, and I would definitely consider moving over there permanently in the future.’

The homemade blueberry jam
The homemade blueberry jam (N/A)

Speaking about her time on University Challenge, Suraiya added: ‘It was filmed in my final year of University in April last year.

‘The only thing I was nervous about was getting a medicine question wrong!

‘It’s also quite nervy when you buzz for a question and all the cameras zoom in on you, while someone shouts out your name.

‘To be honest, everything moves so quickly you’re pretty much just operating on adrenaline.

‘I remember saying to my team that it would be great to win our first match, and anything that happens after that is a bonus.

‘We gained momentum after that and we ended up winning!’