The parents of an A level student who achieved the grades she needed for university have praised her strength and courage in the face of a family cancer scare.
Lydia Olsen achieved an A* in English Language and an A in English Literature and theology to secure her place at Newcastle University.
The 18-year-old will study sociology after what seemed like a dream that could have fallen through after her dad Stephen was diagnosed with Stage 4 throat cancer as she prepared for her exams.
Despite the fear of her father’s illness hanging over her as he embarked on the biggest battle of his life, she managed to gain the grades she needed to take her onto the next chapter in hers.
The St Wilfrid’s RC College student, from West Park, South Shields, said: “This year has been really hard. My dad was diagnosed with cancer and I was really worried about him. I really wasn’t expecting these grades at all.
“The school has been really supportive and I tried to work as hard as I could, even though I was always thinking about my dad - he was so poorly.
What she has overcome to achieve these grades shows what a strong and determined person she is.Lynne Olsen
“I’m still in shock at the outcome. I can’t believe it because it has been really hard.”
Lydia was accompanied to the school yesterday to receive her results by Stephen - who has undergone treatment and medics say is on the road to recovery - and mum Lynne.
Stephen said: “I was diagnosed last year and I had to battle through it. But it was also a crucial time for Lydia with her exams. It was really hard as I didn’t want it to affect her grades.
“I’d feel guilty when she saw me while I was receiving treatment. I just wanted her to concentrate on herself and her future but I know she was worried about me.
“These results are the best thing we’ve heard this year. We are both really proud of her.”
Lynne added: “We all wanted her to do well but we new how much pressure she was putting herself under and being so worried about her dad.
“The cancer was serious and it was touch and go at one point. We always told Lydia she could resit the exams if needed and to try not to worry.
“But she worked really hard, despite everything, and we are so proud of her.
“What she has overcome to achieve these grades shows what a strong and determined person she is.”