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'I couldn't sleep' - Westbourne Academy student's relief at passing GCSEs a year after losing mother to cancer

PUBLISHED: 17:12 24 August 2017 | UPDATED: 17:13 24 August 2017

Westbourne Academy pupil Sean Reynish. Picture: EMILY TOWNSEND

Westbourne Academy pupil Sean Reynish. Picture: EMILY TOWNSEND

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An Ipswich school pupil who lost his mother to cancer while studying for his GCSEs has secured the grades he needs to fulfil his dream of becoming a musician.

Westbourne Academy pupil Sean Reynish as a toddler with his mother Christabel, who died from bowel cancer in 2015. Picture: GEOFF REYNISHWestbourne Academy pupil Sean Reynish as a toddler with his mother Christabel, who died from bowel cancer in 2015. Picture: GEOFF REYNISH

Keen skateboarder and band member Sean Reynish picked up a good set of passes and the new grade 5 in maths and English at Westbourne Academy this morning.

Speaking on GCSE results day, which saw hundreds of students across Suffolk open their envelopes, Sean said he was proud of himself and admitted he and his family had been through a “very tough” year.

Sean, his older brothers Max and Callum and his father Geoff had their world turned upside down when Christabel, former headteacher at Grange Community Primary School in Felixstowe, died of bowel cancer aged just 53 in December 2015.

The 16-year-old threw himself into skateboarding – which he said he used as an escape – and made sure he kept his head down at school to pass English and maths.

Sean Reynish collects his GCSE results at Westbourne Academy. Picture: ESTELLE PEPPERSean Reynish collects his GCSE results at Westbourne Academy. Picture: ESTELLE PEPPER

He said: “It was hard. I was close to mum and it’s been a tough year for all of us. I use skateboarding as a kind of escape I think, and my band.

“I couldn’t sleep at all last night because I was worried I hadn’t passed.

“So yeah, I am really chuffed and proud of myself I guess.

“I’m happy I’ve got the grades I need to go to college.”

Sean’s father Geoff said he believes the young musician got his talent from his mother, who was very musical.

“I’m very proud of Sean because he has just completely launched himself into his music and school work,” he said. “I think that’s obvious given his results today.

“It’s been very hard for all of us and particularly for Sean and his older brother Callum because they were studying at the time and entering big stages of their lives.

“Christabel herself and her family were very musical and I think Sean got that from his mum, he now has the grades to go and do what he loves at Access to Music in Norwich.

“It’s the same college that Ed Sheeran went to but Sean has his own style – he’s in a band called The Naked French with his friends.

“They have been really supportive and so have the school.

“Sean’s girlfriend has also been there for him – she also got really got results today.”

Sean and his father will be opening a memorial garden for Christabel at Grange Primary on September 7 with the help of former colleagues and friends.

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