An ‘amazing’ student who was determined not to let his hearing condition or tremors affect his A Level education has today secured a place at university to study chemistry. QE student Charlie Pilling, who felt inspired to become a research chemist in the wake of the Covid pandemic, will head to Lancaster University having achieved straight A* in A Level Chemistry, Biology and Geography. The 18-year-old from Aycliffe Village said: ‘I’m really happy with my results. I felt confident going into the exams and my grades have made all the hard work at QE worthwhile. I’m so grateful to the college, teachers and staff for their support.’ Charlie, who joined QE from Hummersknott Academy, in Darlington, was born with an intention tremor, a condition that causes involuntary muscle tremors during intentional movement, and suffers from significant hearing loss. He said: ‘My intention tremor does affect my sleep and can make some practical tasks a little tricky, but these conditions don’t define me and I was determined not to let them have a significant impact on my studies.’

Vicky Wilkinson, the Head of Learning Support at QE described Charlie as an ‘amazing young man’. ‘Charlie is one of the most pleasant, polite, and hardworking students the team has known,’ she said. ‘He is truly an amazing young man and we are absolutely delighted that he has achieved the results needed to continue studying chemistry at university.’ The teenager has enjoyed chemistry from a young age and hopes to forge a career in the subject. ‘It’s an area of study that has always interested me and the teaching throughout A Level has inspired me to want to take it further, to degree level and beyond,’ said Charlie. ‘The importance of chemistry has been demonstrated with the synthesis of the Covid-19 vaccination, for example, and I’d love to be involved in research chemistry in the future, knowing the impact it can have on people’s lives.’

College Principal Tim Fisher said: ‘Charlie is such a hardworking student, whose determination and resilience are admirable qualities that have been demonstrated throughout his time here. He has never once let his conditions hold him back and should feel exceptionally proud of his remarkable achievements here at QE.’