The victim of a tragic car crash near her Doncaster school has overcome adversity to get the A-level results she needs to go to university and rebuild her life.
Sophie Hennessey, who spent weeks in intensive care after she was knocked down at the same time as her younger sister was killed, achieved two As in English and economics and a B in history to secure her place at Newcastle University.
“I was so shocked, I couldn’t believe it,” said the 18-year-old who has just left Trinity Academy, in Thorne.
“I thought I could have done well enough to get to university but I wasn’t confident about the results.”
Sophie, who lives in Owston Ferry with her parents Andrew and Amanda, suffered horrific injuries when a car driven by their cousin mowed down her and sister Megan as they walked from school to their grandparents’ house in November 2008.
Megan suffered fatal injuries and Sophie spent seven weeks in hospital, some of it in a coma, before she was allowed home. It was another three months before she could return to her studies at Trinity.
Since then she has worked hard and received extra help from the teaching staff to ensure she was able to keep up with her classmates.
Sophie added: “I have done better than I expected. I didn’t want to get my hopes built up. Last night I was thinking how disappointing it would be if I didn’t get the grades because it has taken such a lot of hard work.”
Her ambition after university is to become an English teacher or a lawyer.
Asked what Megan’s reaction to her success would have been, Sophie said: “She’d have been very happy for me. I’m sure she’d have been keen to come up to Newcastle and see me and go round the shops together.”
Two of her best friends, Rebecca Sylvester and Samuel Goldsworthy, are also heading to Newcastle to study chemistry and business.
Sophie’s dad, who took her to collect her results yesterday, admitted he was overcome by the emotion.
“I am over the moon. Sophie’s been through an horrendous time over the past three years, emotionally, psychologically and physically.
“She’s always been a good and committed student. After she had seven weeks in hospital, when it was touch and go at times, she came home very thin and weak.
“She slept a lot because she was so tired and had to face a lot of extra hard work to keep up. This is a great achievement for her and the staff at Trinity.”
Principal Ian Brew said: “As we celebrate with our students today I am overjoyed that among our top performers is Sophie Hennessey. Hers is a remarkable performance given the tragic incident that happened nearly three years ago when Megan was killed.
“We are a close family at Trinity Academy and the loss of Megan devastated everyone here. She is greatly missed and we will always remember her as a lovely, bright girl.
“Sophie suffered terrible injuries that still affect her today. She has made a truly amazing recovery against all the odds and medical opinion. The determination and strength of character she has shown in order to achieve this success is an example to us all.
“Sophie returned to school part time three months after the accident. Staff at Trinity put in a great deal of extra work to support her and I am so pleased that they, together with her amazing parents and family, can enjoy her excellent results. Sophie thoroughly deserves her success and we wish her all the very best at university.”