A MUSSELBURGH student who was left registered blind after suffering a series of brain tumours has graduated from Edinburgh Napier University.

Paul Hannigan was just 12 years old when doctors discovered three tumours on his brain, called a multifocal germinoma, which were affecting his sight.

They also found five secondary tumours at the top of his spine.

By the age of 13, the brave teenager had completed a high dose of radiotherapy to his brain and spinal cord following a biopsy.

Despite his health challenges, Paul, who is now 30, received a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Computer Systems and Networks degree at a graduation ceremony at the Usher Hall last week.

His family, including mum Angela, 52, and sisters Laura, 34, and Aleigh, 21, were filled with pride to see him receive his degree.

He was also awarded the Rob Kemmer Prize, receiving £100 in recognition of his “outstanding achievements” on his individual programme of study.

Paul, of Burns Wynd, is now planning to return to Napier after the summer to complete his Master’s Degree.

Angela, who has been Paul’s full-time carer, said: “I’m incredibly proud of Paul.

“Despite his challenges he just gets on with things and has achieved his degree.

“He has had a tough life but he does not give up and is an incredibly caring young man.

“Nothing is going to stop Paul.”

Angela revealed that Paul was a pupil at Musselburgh Grammar School when his condition was first diagnosed.

She said: “Paul was having trouble with his eyesight and the school contacted me to say they thought it was getting worse.

“It was when he was referred to the Eye Pavilion in Edinburgh they discovered the tumours were the cause of it.

“He had multifocal germinoma tumours and secondary cancer caused the spinal lesions.”

Although the radiotherapy cured his tumour, it had other detrimental effects.

Paul is registered blind as a result of the radiotherapy to his visual nerves and also has a curvature of the spine.

The pituitary gland in his brain has failed completely, so he needs to take hormone replacements and he also finds it difficult to open his jaw, which is thought to be due to scar tissue following radiotherapy.

It was when he was working as a volunteer at Musselburgh Citizens Advice Bureau that Paul first became interested in developing his computer skills, attending both Edinburgh College and Napier for four years.

Angela said: “Paul doesn’t have an assistant at Napier and he travels there independently.

“He has some vision out of the side of one eye and the centre of the other.

“The university helped with extra large screens for him and giving him more time; his teachers are all delighted for him.”

Paul hopes that his achievement will inspire others with illness and disabilities to follow their dreams and aspirations.

He said: “To graduate with a degree is massive. It took a while to get here from secondary school.

“I am looking forward to returning to Napier for a year to do my Master’s Degree. They have given huge support.”

Paul is hoping to get a job based in computer security once he finishes his studies.