Joseph Lockington

When Joseph was rushed to hospital on the morning of his first day back at school as a Year 9 pupil in January 2012, neither his parents nor his school had any idea how it would change his life forever. Joseph has been nominated for our Student in a Million Inner Strength award. 

Joseph had suffered a stroke which caused him to suffer paralysis from the neck down, meaning he will be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. During his treatment at a children's hospital, Joe was so keen to return to see his friends that the hospital made special arrangements so he could spend lunchtimes with them. 

Despite his need for a ventilator and 24-hour nursing care, Joseph was also determined to continue his education. And continue, he did. In the words of his head of year, Joseph "had one very important muscle that was still functioning and that was his brain".

When teachers suggested he settle for the foundation maths paper at GCSE, Joseph shocked them and insisted he could cope with the higher paper. In the end, his resilience and fight won through when he achieved a grade B in maths last year. This is a stunning achievement for a student who, just one year previously, had suffered a stroke and been put in a coma while doctors tried to save him.

In September 2014, Joseph returned for his final GCSE year at the school in which, as a 13 year old, he had fronted the rock band and played in school sports' team. While things had changed since his 14 months in Birmingham's Children's Hospital, he retained his sense of humour and compassion for others. 

For all the daily frustration he goes through as a result of his condition, his spirit and determination in the most testing of circumstances has helped him achieve the remarkable. Joseph has taken traditional two-year GCSEs in English literature, English language, religious education and a Btec in science - all in 10 months.

According to his mother, he remains 'very independent'; a normal 17 year old who is doing as much as he possibly can. Now Joseph prepares to take an A-level in his favourite subject, maths.