Poignant day for parents of Great Yarmouth student Leah Wilby
As students celebrated their GCSE results across the country, yesterday was a poignant day for the family of Norfolk schoolgirl Leah Wilby when they received results of GCSEs she sat prior to her death from cancer.
The brave 15-year-old battled through pain in her back caused by cancer in her spine and liver to achieve an A in Food Technology, Bs in English literature, English language, maths, art and design, music, IT, RE and a C in science.
The determined Great Yarmouth High School wanted to sit the exams even though staff at Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, had asked to send a letter to her school asking for her to be judged on her coursework, fearing she was too ill to take the exams.
She died shortly afterwards on June 13 following a seven-year battle with the disease.
Her mother Debbie said: 'She would not have been disappointed with the results. She would have been really pleased, but she was a perfectionist and she would always have wanted to do better.
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'If she did something wrong, she would put a line under it and start again - that was the type of person she was.'
She said Leah took painkillers to combat the pain and often had to sit at different angles to ease the pressure on her back while taking the exams, including lasting eight hours, which were overseen by an invigilator at her family home.
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However, she refused to complain about her condition.
'She wanted to prove that she was normal. She even sat an eight-hour exam. When she was diagnosed in December 2009, she kept it from a lot of people. She did not want people to know, she wanted life to carry on as normal,' Debbie added.
Leah hoped to go on to East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston to study photography, graphics, psychology and health and social care, with the eventual aim to become a photographer.
Her mother added she had already explored her passion for photography, taking photos of anything from landscapes to jewellery.
John Catton, consultant headteacher at Yarmouth High School, also praised Leah.
He said: 'The students, staff and governors of Leah's school remain so proud of her. She simply refused to give up, despite everything she faced with her health.
'Leah's GCSE results are amazing; we received them with great joy and great sadness.
'Leah's high grades are a tribute to her determined and tenacious character. She achieved so well -against the odds - through her own hard work. We hope she is celebrating her success, right now.'
An appeal has been set up in Leah's memory to raise �20,000 for a holiday home at Haven Seashore in Yarmouth and a pink butterfly leaving a trail of music notes in its wake has become the appeal's logo.
A fundraising night for the Leah Wilby Foundation at Gorleston's Cliff Hotel on November 4 has already drawn a raft of raffle and auction prizes.
Tickets are �5. Pink charity wristbands are available for a minimum donation of �1. For tickets or information or to donate a raffle prize contact Leahs.firstname.lastname@example.org or call Mrs Wilby on 07917 163993.