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.
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.