Lucy has the X factor

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UNABLE to talk until the age of four, Lucy Dawlish was branded “thick” at school and left with no qualifications.

But she was determined not to let the rare genetic condition causing her learning difficulties get in the way of her reaching her ambitions.

As a teenager she overcame her dyslexia, dyspraxia and short-term memory loss to train as an apprentice sheet-metal worker for an engineering firm, welding parts for tanks and Boeing 747s for 10 years.

She went on to run her own wedding photography business, teaching herself stage lighting and audio-visual design as well as designing loft conversions in her spare time.

But it was when Lucy, who suffers from extremely rare chromosomal condition Quadruple X Syndrome, landed a place on Sunderland university’s interior design course that she realised her ultimate dream.

And now the 39-year-old, of Washington, is in with a chance of scooping the ultimate accolade for her creative flair in a prestigious national competition.

She has fought off fierce competition from hundreds of people across the UK to be named a finalist in the Janice Stone Young Interior Awards 2011 for her coastal inspired design.

“If someone had told me a few years ago that I’d be staying at university and nominated for a national award, I’d never have believed it.

“But studying at Sunderland has given me the confidence to finally acknowledge my own ability and recognise the achievements I’ve made over the years while living with this genetic condition.”

The winning entry will receive a £10,000 cash prize and the chance to snap up a six-month paid internship with top design studio Janice Stone.

Inspired by the coastline near Souter Lighthouse, Whitburn, Lucy’s design will go on display in London’s Covent Garden for the final judging on March 30.

ABOUT Quadruple X Syndrome

IT is a rare chromosomal disorder caused by the presence of four X chromosomes instead of two.

The condition only occurs in females, as there are no Y chromosomes present.

Physically, patients tend to have distinctive facial features such as flat nasal bridges, small mouths, cleft or high arched palates, delayed or absent teeth, or enamel defects.

Patients frequently show mild delays in speech development and articulation, language expression and understanding, and reading skills. Walking ages ranging from 16 months to four-and-a-half years old.