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A-level success for Becca Powis from Ferndown Upper School who reaches the stars in spite of family tragedy

By mbarber  |  Posted: August 15, 2014

Becca Powis, with her father Barry. MB Photo

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Becca Powis’s exam results are so good that she is likely to be one of the top A-level students in her subjects in the country.

This is all the more impressive because the Ferndown Upper School pupil gained three A*s despite the fact that her mother was dying of cancer during the past school year.

Furthermore, at 17 years of age - Becca’s birthday isn’t until 25th August - she is also one of the youngest in her year.

Showing me his daughter’s results, her proud father Barry said that Becca was just three marks overall short of 100 per cent perfect in her three subjects of - Fashion, Art and Photography.

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Diagnosed with metastic cancer in September last year, her mother Denise died on 30th December.

“It started with a cough, and as with this type of cancer, you don’t discover its primary source” said Barry. “It just disperses and spreads around the body.”

The school were happy for Becca to study from home, and she would work on her projects in the lounge, whilst her mother lay on the sofa.

“It helped to keep me focused,” Becca said, adding that her teachers were surprised she managed to keep going so well.

She went into school periodically to make sure she was on the right track.

“Mum really encouraged me and would be really proud of my results,” said Becca, adding there were times when she couldn’t work and so had to catch up at others.

“Denise went down hill so quickly, going from a wheelchair to an electric bed,” said Barry, sadly.

A former bathroom designer he is now devoting his energies to bringing up his four children, as in addition to Becca, there is Gemma, 16 and 13-year-old twins Luke and Ashley.

Denise had so much to live for. A former model who became Miss Wimborne, Miss 2CR and Miss Clouds (a nightclub), she was a semi-professional singer, who had hoped to further that career.

Becca admitted that when her mother died, things became more challenging.

“It affected each of us differently, but we all tried to deal with it,” she said. “I learned that you shouldn’t take life for granted.”

Before Denise died she wrote a letter to each of them to be opened on their birthdays, and so Becca will be opening hers on Bank Holiday Monday.

The family will also have a box to open at Christmas.

Barry said: “When a piece of your world is taken away you see things in a different light. So many things I used to moan about were trivial.”

“If you believe in something you can carry on,” added Becca, who plans a career in interior design. However, her next step is embarking on a one-year foundation course at Ferndown Upper School, before going to university.

Alex Wills, headteacher of Ferndown Upper School said: “Becca has done exceptionally well in the face of great sadness and adversity this year to achieve straight A*s at A-level. She is a very talented and modest young lady who is a great credit to her family and has a very bright future ahead of her. All of us at Ferndown Upper School are really proud of this incredible achievement.”

Marilyn Barber

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