Bede Academy student Josie Todd honours tragic brother by clinching excellent set of A-level results

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The inspirational sister of a popular schoolboy who died of a brain tumour aged just 15 is set to continue his legacy of pushing on through adversity after achieving top A-level grades.

Josie Todd, of Blyth, said her brother Connor would be proud of her success – but probably would not have admitted it.

The teenager died in October after being diagnosed with medulloblastoma two years earlier. He underwent surgery and months of gruelling treatment but never lost his fighting spirit, nor his sense of humour.

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He also raised more than £17,000 for charities to support young people with cancer.

Josie Todd and her mum Clair on the memorial bench at Bede Academy, in Blyth, which honours Connor.Josie Todd and her mum Clair on the memorial bench at Bede Academy, in Blyth, which honours Connor.
Josie Todd and her mum Clair on the memorial bench at Bede Academy, in Blyth, which honours Connor.

Josie, who attended Bede Academy in Blyth, secured an A* in business and A grades in product design and English literature. Her exam success has earned her a place at Newcastle University to read business management, and is continuing the mission her brother started.

Principal Andrew Thelwell explained: “Josie is a remarkable young lady. She has worked tirelessly to fundraise for children’s cancer charities as well as lead initiatives such as One More Step to encourage students and staff to undertake challenges and push themselves towards their goals, alongside working so hard to achieve her grades.

“She has set a real example of love, courage and humility for all staff and students to follow. We will continue to be inspired by her and wish her all the very best going forward.”

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Josie said the past two years had “been a lot of hard work” and that her choice of degree course supported her future plans.

“What I want to do with my life, especially after losing my brother, is to inspire and lead other people,” she said.

" I want to go into business management to do that and find a vision to help people follow it and do something good.

“I have done public speaking for Young Lives Versus Cancer and at school and the One More Step challenge was about inspiring people like my brother did. It's about pushing yourself to do something you wouldn't normally do outside your comfort zone.

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"I did running; I'm not a runner so it was a big challenge for me but I was inspired by Connor who was totally bedbound from his treatment, but set himself a challenge to push himself beyond what he or any of us expected him to do, and that's the legacy I want to follow.

“There were a lot of times when I wanted to give up and that's where One More Step comes in.

"I have always had the potential to achieve with hard work but when Connor was ill and passed away, I wasn't sure if I would be able to do it. My biggest fear has been being held back because of circumstances and I wanted to prove to people and myself I could achieve.

“There are days when you don't feel like getting up in the morning and pushing yourself to do it is the hardest thing. Revising and even coming into school was horrible at the time so this means so much more than just getting into university; it's proving what I am capable of.

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“Connor wasn't as academic as me and he probably would have called me a flipping swot with a few more expletives, but he would be proud in his own way. He would have joked that he wasn't but deep down he would be.”

Mum Clair, who has two other older daughters Amy and Chloe, said the family was still “up and down emotionally”.

She added: “People think it's months after now, that things are back to normal, but the grief doesn't get any smaller. But I know Connor wouldn't want us to sit and cry all the time, although it's very easy to do that.”

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