Tears of joy as hard-working pupils across Gloucester get A level results
EXAMS are never easy, but when months of revision are accompanied by personal turmoil it can be even harder for pupils to achieve dream results.
That was the case for good friends Natalie Brunsdon, 18, and Madeleine Letherby, 17, from Ribston Hall High School.
Natalie had to cope with exams without the support of her mum, who died recently, and Madeleine has been diagnosed with epilepsy.
Both defied the odds to get the marks needed for university. Natalie, from Cheltenham, will study law at Exeter with an A* in history, A in English literature and B in politics.
"My mum passed away three years ago in the middle of my GCSEs so I've had to work really hard since just to stay on track," she said. "It has been incredibly difficult not having her here to support me. Mum wanted me to go to university, she would be very proud."
Madeleine, from Brockworth, will study sociology at Newcastle after dealing with an illness that leaves her exhausted.
"The tablets make me feel really tired and if I don't sleep enough, I fit," she said. "The teachers have been very supportive. I'm a little worried about what it will be like at university. I've just got to go out there and do it."
It was an emotional day, too, for pupils at nearby St Peter's High School.
Head teacher Lawrence Montagu was due to retire after 29 years in the job, but died in April. Sixth form head Andy Barnard said Larry would have been proud.
"Results day was his favourite day of the year. He loved the excitement and sharing in the pupils' success. He had a real interest in those who found it a struggle."
James Richards, also from St Peter's, will take up an apprenticeship with Rolls Royce in Bristol. "My grandad died recently so the build up to the exams was pretty tough, I'm just relieved it is all over."
Head teacher at The Crypt School, Jonathan Standen, said: "It has been quite notable there have been some very good kids who have looked at alternatives to university. It is partly because of debt worries and partly because of the great apprenticeships on offer."
It was the last results day for Sir Thomas Rich's head teacher Ian Kelly, who is retiring. He said: "We've achieved fantastic results this year. All five of our Oxbridge students have got the grades they need to gain a place at their university."
Will Geeson, 19, from Kingsholm overcame health problems to gain results good enough for Cambridge.
He dropped out of school last year, to deal with his bipolar disorder.
Miranda Bopoto, 18, from Quedgeley scored two A* grades, a B and an A at High School for Girls.
"I'm relieved to get my results and now I can enjoy the rest of the summer."