AN Accrington teenager has been named as the top nursing cadet in Lancashire and Cumbria, realising a ‘life-long’ dream.

Layla Bridges, 18, received the Skills for Health Academy Cadet of the Year 2014 award at a glittering ceremony after passing her course at Blackburn College with flying colours.

Layla, of Dill Hall Lane, was named the cadet of the year in front of 2,000 people packed in the Liverpool at The Arena and Convention Centre after beating competition from the likes of Burnley College and Blackpool and The Fylde College.

The former St Christopher’s CE High School student said that she always wanted to be a nurse, even dressing up as one when she was a little girl.

She has just completed her two-year course in Blackburn which included placements at the Royal Blackburn Hospital, which ran alongside the health and social care course.

Layla said: “I really wasn’t expecting the award at all.The course was very enjoyable and I really liked being on placement.

“It was similar to the health and social care course but we were given more experience in hospitals.

“I got to spend a lot of time on the wards which was a great experience for me.

“I hope that this award helps me in the future and opens doors.”

After graduating from the college alongside 10 other cadets, Layla is now set to attend UCLan to study nursing.

The ceremony celebrated cadets graduating from programmes in health, finance, business administration and dental nursing; from across Greater Manchester, Chesh-ire, Merseyside, Cumbria and Lancashire.

There was a ‘Cadet of the Year’ award for each college and an overall winner for each region.

Her mum Sharon O’Hanlon, 42, said: “I’m really proud of her.

“I knew that she had done well during the course and she has just thrived after joining Blackburn College.

“I thought that she deserved the award before it was announced but I also knew that she was up against so many other people who were are also fantastic.

“I hope it will set her up well for the future because she has been so focused throughout the course.”