A HEREFORDSHIRE woman who has had to work harder than most to gain her university place is happy to be looking towards the future.

Alaina Banfield, 21, from Ross-on-Wye, has had to battle cerebral palsy – a central motor dysfunction affecting muscle tone, posture and movement – from the age of one, meaning she has had to work twice as hard as the other children in school and college to finally secure a place studying textiles at Swansea Metropolitan University.

Alaina requires 24 hour care and uses a wheelchair but is determined this won’t stop her from achieving her dream of becoming a designer.

She said: “I am very excited about going to university.

“It is very important for me to be independent and it has been a struggle to get where I am now due to that need for daily care, but I have a positive attitude towards my disability and just get on with daily life as normal.

“Swansea University has been very accommodating – it has got me a room and a separate room for my carer and made sure it has all the facilities I need to ensure my time at uni is enjoyable.

“I worked very hard during my time at college in Coventry to gain more qualifications so I was able to go to university, and now I’m looking forward to making new friends.”

Her mother, Angela Sonn, said: “I’m very proud of Alaina. She really has done remarkably well to get in to university.

She has incredible determination.

“At the moment Alaina wants to design wedding dresses in future, but knowing her they will probably not be your normal wedding dresses.

She’s a big horror film fan so they will not be the norm.

“She’s very independent and also goes horseriding.

I’m just proud of her beyond words.”