A BRAVE schoolgirl channelled her grief after her brother's tragic death to help fulfil her dreams of studying medicine.

Nicole Caraher, 16, remarkably achieved six As in her NAT 5s while trying to cope with the loss of her beloved brother Christopher Nicol.

The teenager said the 27-year-old's death, which stunned the whole community, left her family devastated.

Nicole, a pupil at Port Glasgow High, said: "He died just before my prelims - I was really exhausted.

"I felt I had to brace myself and I tried so hard in my exams."

When the end-of-year exam diet was cancelled because of coronavirus her results were based on those prelims and her impressive coursework.

Nicole says the last year has been a traumatic time.

She said: "It was really hard for our whole family.

"I had to take some time off school and there was the funeral coming up.

"It was very stressful."

Nicole's dad Frank is also Christopher's father.

She said: "Christopher lived with us until I was seven.

"He was brilliant and so funny."

Nicole wants to continue her studies until S6 and work towards Advanced Highers before heading to Glasgow University to study medicine.

She said: "I was actually screaming when I got my results, I thought I would get good results but not six As."

Nicole lives with Frank, 51, and mum Dympha in Port Glasgow who are delighted by her success.

She said: "They are very proud.

"My mum went into work the next day and told everyone.

"She works at B&M and I used to work with there too, so I know everyone there."

Her dad Frank said: "We are a close family and have always been aware of how much potential Nicole has but we are over the moon with her results this year, especially with what she had to deal with.”

While working at the store to keep busy during lockdown and earn some extra money she was awarded employee of the month within a month of starting.

Her dad said: "If Nicole sets her mind to achieve something she will always achieve it.

"If she can't do it first time she will go back and try again until she does succeed.

“We are delighted with her results and how strong she has been during difficult times and we know she will continue to be successful in the future.”

Christopher, a dad-of-two, died following an incident at his home in Maple Road in Greenock on September 26 last year.

This sparked a major police investigation and an emotional appeal by his mother Karen Nicol.

Two months later a 44-year-old man was arrested and charged with Christopher's murder.

He is expected to go on trial in the coming months.