Fire chief is living proof grades aren't the be-all and end-all

Northumberland’s fire chief sent the county’s 16-year-olds an important message via social media today.

Thursday, 12th August 2021, 3:07 pm
Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley

Paul Hedley, who last year was presented with the Queen’s Fire Service Medal at Buckingham Palace by Prince Charles, admitted he had achieved “disappointing” O-level results, and “very poor” A-level grades.

He therefore missed out on a place at university, but has since risen to the top job at Northumberland Fire and Rescue.

His encouraging message ended with the phrase #nowrongpath.

Paul Hedley's inspirational message to teenagers who received their GCSE results today.

By yesterday afternoon the picture, which originated on the brigade’s Facebook page, had gone viral, with strangers praising the officer for coming clean about his not-so-brilliant academic record.

The poster added: “We couldn’t be prouder of our Chief Fire Officer! He’s an inspiration for all – always follow your dreams and never give up.”

2021 has turned out to be a record year for GCSE results, with 30 per cent of candidates receiving top grades. Girls also did better than boys in 45 out of 47 subjects.