A TALENTED Ferndown teenage student who lost her mother to cancer during the final year of her A levels has achieved an amazing three A* grades.

After her mum Denise was diagnosed with terminal cancer last September, Becca Powis chose to complete much of her school work at home by her mother’s bedside.

She made her mother the subject of her art coursework and spent every possible moment sketching and painting portraits of her before she died on December 30, 2013, aged 51.

Becca’s official attendance rate in year 13 of Ferndown Upper School was just 52 per cent, but this week she discovered the artwork inspired by her mum had helped her achieve an amazing three A* grades in art, fashion and photography.

The 17-year-old said: “I had started doing my project about the Rokeby Venus painting, but when mum was diagnosed I had a rethink.

“Mum used to be a model when she was younger and so I made my mum my project. We dug out all these old photos and newspaper cuttings about her, it was so moving to see her at her most beautiful.

“In a way, I guess it helped me. Sometimes it was really hard to get motivated and I just didn’t want to think about it, other times it was a good distraction.

“She was really proud of all the work that I did, I knew I had to carry it on.”

Becca had been predicted to do well, but receiving her outstanding grades was a hugely emotional moment for her, her dad Barry and her three younger siblings Gemma, Ashley and Luke. She now intends to study a foundation art course and apply to university.

Barry, of New Road, Ferndown, said: “I am so very proud that she has got so much strength in her, to concentrate on her studies at such a hugely emotional and difficult time, and I know her mum would be too.”

Becca’s head teacher Alex Wills also paid tribute to the teenager’s courage.

He said: “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.”