AN A-GRADE student who suffers from a rare genetic disorder has been handed the opportunity to taste life at one of the world’s top universities.

Lucy Fellows, 17, who is in Year 12 at Stourport High School and VIth Form College, was one of 175 top British state school students chosen, out of 2,500 applicants, by educational charity the Sutton Trust to take part in a United States programme to spend 10 days from July 5 at Yale University – a prestigious private Ivy League college in Connecticut – which would cost about $60,000 (£35,000) a year to attend.

The charity was launched in 1997 by Sir Peter Lampl and funds programmes to help young people from low and middle incomes experience studying at leading universities in the UK and United States. Lucy is currently studying psychology, biology, English literature and Spanish at A level after achieving an impressive 10 As and two A*s at GCSE last summer.

Her friend told her about the Sutton Trust’s United States programme, and despite admitting it was a long shot, she applied to take partinJanuary.

She told The Shuttle: “I was very, very excited and feel very privi- leged to be selected for this. Not many people get to go and try out the top universities in the world for free. My friend just mentioned to me that she had seen it and it sounded like an amazing opportunity that I had to take up.

“I wasn’t expecting to be selected it was a real long shot but I thought I may as well have a go. I have never lived abroad before and only been to Florida in America. The trip will help me understand the way of student life in America – I want to see what it is like, then maybe consider applying to study there when I’m looking at universities.

“I just want to be able to evaluate all the options. At the moment I think I would quite like to study psychology as a degree. My friends and family are very excited. My mum, who I look after, will miss me while I am away but she wants me to have this opportunity.”

As well as battling with her school work, Lucy has to cope with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) which causes constant joint pains and fatigue – and she also helps look after her mother, Louise, who suffers from a severe form of the same condition.

Mrs Fellows said: “We are very proud. We went down on the induction day with her to meet everybody and went along to a parents’ session. I am over the moon she has been selected and been given such an amazing opportunity. She does a lot to help me but we do not want my health issues to hold her back in any way.”

The Sutton Trust’s United States programme is now in its third year and gives teenagers the opportunity to spend time at a summer school as well as providing application support for UK students afterwards.