An aspiring doctor who fled strife-torn Iraq to the UK at the age of six wants to "give back" to the country after she achieved four A* A-level grades.

Rochdale Sixth Form College student Hana Barzinji, 18, will now go on to study medicine at the University of Manchester where she is determined to repay Britain for taking in her and her family.

In 2000 - before the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein three years later - her father, Hiwa, 43, and mother Tka, 42, decided their native Kurdish region of northern Iraq was too volatile to bring up their children.

Qualified teacher Mr Barzinji came to the UK that year and did any odd job he could find to pave the way for his wife, also a teacher, and their then two children to follow in 2002.

Hana explained: "My father first needed to establish some sort of life to come here.

"My parents wanted a safer environment for their children to grow up in. A better place for an education. I was only very young at the time but it was a turbulent place. The situation in Iraq that we are seeing on TV at the moment is precisely the thing they were trying to protect us from."

The family are now settled in Norden, Rochdale, with Mr Barzinji currently studying for a computing degree at Bolton University while Mrs Barzinji works as a teaching assistant at a local primary school.

Hana, who has two younger brothers, Taman, 16, an engineering student at Bury College, and nine-year-old Ara, is the first member of her family to go to university.

She said: "I spoke to my mum after I opened my results and she was ecstatic. It will make them proud but it is a great feeling of satisfaction for myself predominately.

"I am really grateful to this country for providing the opportunity.

"Hopefully I can contribute back by becoming a doctor. This is my chance to give back."

Hana achieved top grades in biology, chemistry, maths and an extended project in which she looked at the effects of calorie restrictions on people with age-related neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.