SCHOOLGIRL Abigail Smith had to overcome more than most to get her clutch of top GCSE grades.

The Larkmead pupil was suffering from Lyme disease, which can cause flu-like symptoms and is life-threatening if left untreated, when she sat her exams.

Not only was the teenager dealing with the infection but it also caused a flare up of the arthritis in her hands.

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Abigail, who was diagnosed with the bone condition eight years ago, said: "I've not felt too great because of the infection and when I was doing my essay subjects it was hard writing in the exam."

Despite the added difficulty the 16-year-old got 8s in the majority of her subjects, including maths, history, English literature, science and art.

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She said: "I'm really pleased as I was really nervous. I wasn't expecting to have done as well as I did.""

Her father Steve Smith said: "I'm incredibly proud of her. She never lets the illness get her down and has kept going throughout."

He added: "She always has a smile on her face."

The Larkmead student has not decided what she wants to do at university but is planning to carry on with science subjects during her A-Levels.