STUDYING for A-levels is a stressful enough period for anyone – but three fighting students didn’t let serious illnesses stop them from scoring a collection of top results.
Twin sisters Natalie and Lorna Hibberd overcame their disabilities to achieve an astonishing four A*s and three As between them.
Meanwhile, brave Fareham teenager Sam John, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour in Florida, was overwhelmed to achieve a B and two Cs.
Natalie and Lorna, 17, were born 10 weeks prematurely and have faced severe health problems as a result.
Wheelchair user Natalie achieved an A* in communications and cultural studies and two As in English language and English literature at Havant Sixth Form College.
She said: ‘I’m still in a bit of shock but I’m really pleased.
‘I’ve not been in the best of health over the past couple of years, so I was just really happy when I got to the end of the course and was like “Yay, I survived”.
‘I stick at things, I don’t usually back out of things, and I’m very happy that I’ve proved that I could do it.’
Natalie’s sister Lorna, who studied at South Downs College in Waterlooville, achieved three A*s in law, sociology and the extended project, and an A in ancient history.
She is looking forward to studying social sciences at Durham University.
She said: ‘I didn’t think I’d do this well, but I’m very happy. I considered doing law, but with social sciences it felt more like an open experience.’
As an aspiring novelist, Natalie has been writing her own thriller series.
She said: ‘It’s such a full-time job trying to get something published so I had to put it on the back burner.
‘Now I’ve done college and got my grades, I can concentrate really hard.’
Mum Carol, of Petersfield, said: ‘I’m so proud of them, both individually and together.’
At Bay House Sixth Form in Gosport, 19-year-old Sam gained a B in history and two Cs in psychology and English literature, having re-sat his AS-levels due to illness. He is now set to study history at Swansea University.
He said: ‘I’ve worked really hard for my grades and I’ve had great support from all my teachers.
‘I’m delighted I decided to re-sit my first year and with my results today.
‘I’m really looking forward to the challenge ahead.’