A Roehampton girl who suffered several traumatic experiences throughout her childhood has shared her inspiring journey as she begins life at university.

Maysie Cogdell, 18, recently won the 2019 LGT Vestra US Gridiron Grant, a university scholarship in partnership with LGT Vestra US and NFL team Jacksonville Jaguars.

The grant, which was created to provide development pathways for underprivileged students in the UK American Football community, was awarded to Maysie after overcoming enormous personal adversities to excel in school and at sport.

At just ten years of age, Maysie experienced the devastating loss of her mum to cancer.

Just six years later in December 2018, she went through a second family tragedy as her older brother, Ryan suddenly passed away.

“Losing my mum at 10 was the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my life," she said.

"I was just about old enough to understand what was going on and it really affected me.

"To then lose my older brother Ryan, was really hard. He was like a father figure to me and taught me so much. I miss him every day.”

As a result of her mum's passing Maysie struggled through the first four years of secondary school. However, following her brother’s death she took inspiration from him to turn things around.

“My brother said if you want to get far in life you have to try hard from the beginning, so I started working harder, studying harder to get the grades that I wanted, and I did.”

Maysie went on to explain how sport was a big part of her extraordinary story.

“I’ve always loved sport, it’s a break from reality and a chance to release your problems," she added.

"Ryan got me into boxing, and it was something I really thought we could enjoy together.

"Although he’s gone, I’m still boxing because he would have wanted that.”

She also played JagTag at school, the Jacksonville Jaguars American Football grassroots programme, which is where she found out about the LGT Vestra US Gridiron Grant.

Maysie has now started at Portsmouth University and is studying for an undergraduate degree in Sports Science.

“Because of the grant the future is looking really bright," the 18-year-old said.

"I’ve learnt to never give up, no matter what happened in the past it shouldn’t taint your future."