A BURNLEY student has graduated with top honours just a few months after losing her mother to cancer.

Shamam Saleem graduated with a first class honours degree in psychology despite losing mum Zanieb Bibi during the course.

The 22-year-old University of Central Lancashire graduate had been caring for her mother throughout the illness.

She was left devastated when Zanieb lost her battle on Mother’s Day this year, only a month before Shamam was due to hand in her final project.

As well as organising the funeral and supporting her father, Shamam continued with her degree and completed her final project, which explored a topic inspired by her mother.

The student held her wedding last November so her mother could attend. She said: “We’re very glad we married when we did as my mother was well and able to celebrate. We have also decided to go ahead with a big celebration this summer as my mum helped plan it, so she will still be part of the day.”

Shamam now plans to take some time out but would eventually like to go on to study a PhD at UCLan.

She said: “People would come to my Mum for help and advice with their problems and many had been affected by honour violence, so it was something I had an interest in researching.”

Shamam wrote a dissertation exploring the effects of culture on perception of honour. She is now working towards having the project published and was awarded a grade of 80 per cent, one of the highest scores achieved by a psychology student at UCLan.

She added: “There were times I didn’t think I could carry on with the course but they all motivated me to keep going and I’m glad I did.”

Dr Roxanne Khan, senior lecturer in forensic psychology at UCLan, said: “What is remarkable is that Shamam has remained dignified and composed throughout. She did not ask for any special considerations.

“I consider myself extremely lucky to work with such a consummate professional.”