STUDENT Philip Putson overcame pain to graduate from university.

Diagnosed with severe arthritis in his final year, the 22-year-old, from Thornaby, was in so much pain he was unable to walk for a month and missed important lectures.

But he beat the odds to graduate from the University of Teesside, Middlesbrough, with a 2.1 honours degree in computing and mathematics.

His efforts have been recognised with an award from the university.

Former Bassleton School pupil Philip was awarded the Catherine Dummigan Memorial Prize, named after the senior lecturer in computing who died in May after a short illness.

The award itself was bitter-sweet for Philip for, after his illness developed, he was helped by Catherine Dummigan in her capacity as a co-ordinator for students with disabilities.

Philip said: "One of my knees gave way on my placement year. At first I thought it was just a sports injury and was referred to an orthopaedic consultant who recommended physiotherapy. But the pain got worse and I was referred to a rheumatoid arthritic clinic.

"During my final year at university, the condition became so severe that it was doubtful I would complete my course. I was unable to walk and missed a month at university. I have now greatly improved and my mobility is almost back to normal.''