Film production student Grace Nuttall secures great degree despite losing sister Laura during studies

Categories: School of Arts, Media and Creative Technology

A student has graduated from the University of Salford with a fantastic result despite losing her sister to brain cancer during her third year.

Grace Nuttall, from Barrowford, Lancashire, was supported by her family and friends as she received her 2:1 degree in Film Production at the Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays today (Friday 21 July 2023).

It was an emotional day for the family as they celebrated Grace’s achievement two months after the passing of her sister, Laura, who courageously campaigned for more funding for brain cancer research for five years after being diagnosed with glioblastoma multiforme following a routine eye test in 2018 and given a prognosis of just a year to live.

Grace spoke of her immense pride at achieving her degree which was made more difficult in her third year as she split her time studying on campus with helping to care for her sister at home.

She said: “I’ve had the best year at University but at home it’s been the hardest year of my life with losing Laura.

“I am very lucky that I’ve got fantastic friends that have been so understanding with me, particularly over the final two months when I was going back and forth between sets and home. I was adamant that I was coming to every set as I didn’t want to make it a big deal because Laura never did, so why should I.

“I feel like I’ve been making my sister proud. She was always my biggest supporter and it’s a shame she won’t be able to see me graduate as I would always ask for her advice and share the films I made. She said I was born to be a filmmaker.”

Grace said that Laura encouraged her to attend university despite her condition during the COVID-19 pandemic. It led to a lot of testing for the virus from Grace but she was still able to go and see her frequently over her first year.

In her second year, Grace fell in to the producing role on her course and became hugely passionate about filmmaking and being in charge of the film set.

She said: “I’ve always loved films and always wanted to do something in that field. With producing, you’re the one in charge and I just loved that. I’ve been bossing everyone around since I could talk really!

“It’s a massive amount of work but you are creating something that could not happen without you and you make such great bonds with other people. I’ve learnt so much from it.”

Laura graduated from the University of Manchester in July 2022, a day which Grace said was ‘one of the proudest days of my life’.

Ahead of the ceremony, she said: "Laura kept saying that it will be me next. It’s been very hard knowing that she wasn’t going to be there but we have said that we will somehow bring a piece of her to the day. We are going to ‘Be more Laura’.”

As for Grace’s future, she has secured a couple of paid jobs and work experience placements over the summer at the BBC and plans to secure a permanent position at MediaCity in the near future.

For all press office enquiries please email communications@salford.ac.uk.