AFTER a harrowing two years, Bethany Spence has a bright future to look forward to.

The 16-year-old, of Appledore Road in Moulsecoomb, Brighton, lost her dad to cancer in June 2013.

The timing of his passing meant she had to work through her Year 10 exams with her father weighing heavily on her mind.

She was on a fast-track for her GCSEs at the time but much of her revision time was spent looking after her dad.

Bethany said: “Patcham High School have been very supportive. They gave me my own counsellor to talk to.

“It got to the point that I was given the head of year’s timetable. If I needed to talk to her, I could.”

She says her situation made her want to try harder. She got A to C grades in her GCSE exams.

She said: “I was very stressed during my exams. It felt like I had no time to revise. I would have to stay two or three hours after school to.”

Her mum Lisa said Patcham High was “amazing throughout the whole thing”.

Bethany said: “I feel really proud of my results. If my dad was here he would have been proud too.”

Now she’s off to Lewes College and wants to go into journalism.

In her spare time she is a snake handler.

She also started a newsletter for the East Sussex Reptile and Amphibian Society, such is her passion for the creatures.

On its second issue reaching out to 216 people, she sees it as a springboard into journalism.