Brave Harborough student celebrates top marks in A-levels just days before receiving crucial brain surgery

David's parents said they couldn't be more proud

By Red Williams
Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 11:41 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 11:42 am
David with mum and dad Bernie and Julian.
David with mum and dad Bernie and Julian.

A heroic Harborough student is celebrating getting top marks in his A-levels – just days before having crucial surgery to remove a brain tumour.

David Stribling, 18, is on top of the world after being awarded an A star and two As in maths, further maths and physics at Robert Smyth Academy in Market Harborough.

The brilliant teenager is now gearing up to go under the knife at Oxford’s John Radcliffe Hospital next Wednesday (August 18) as he battles a brain tumour.

David spoke to the Harborough Mail about his epic academic achievement minutes after picking up his A-level marks at Robert Smyth Academy on Burnmill Road.

“I can’t believe I’ve done this well.

“It’s certainly exceeded all of my expectations,” said delighted David, of Fleckney.

“I’m going to go on to Bath University to do a maths degree for the next four years and I can’t wait.

“It has been hard working through the Covid pandemic and all the lockdowns for the last 18 months but we’ve got there.”

It was only then that ultra-modest David was prompted by his proud mum Bernie, 55, and dad Julian, 56, to reveal that he’s also had to conquer a personal Mount Everest as well.

“I was diagnosed with a brain tumour last November.

“And I’m due to have surgery on it at John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford next Wednesday.

“I’ve been having a lot of treatment and been on different medications to treat it,” said David.

“I’ve been suffering a lot of bad headaches and it’s obviously affected my concentration too at a time when I’ve had to work so hard for my A-levels.

“I just kept on going and did what I had to despite everything.

“So I’m just very proud of myself for doing so well after such a tough and tiring few months.

“I’m looking ahead to having the operation now and all being well I’ll be going off to start studying at Bath University in October.”

Beaming with pride at her courageous son standing with his results just inches away, his mum Bernie told the Mail: “I am hugely proud of David.

“He has been remarkably resilient, amazingly tenacious and just so determined to do his best and give it his all.

“We’ve been very supportive of him – as has the fantastic school here – and just got behind him all the way along.

“We have had a lot of things to think about over the last few months as you can imagine.

“But David’s never had any doubt about pressing on and fulfilling his goals.

“He vowed that he was doing his A-levels and that was it,” said Bernie, who works at Leicester Diabetes Centre.

“What he’s done and achieved almost defies belief.

“It’s been hard enough for David and all of the students here during the coronavirus pandemic.

“But to be awarded these astonishing marks after all he’s come through just shows how incredibly brave, indomitable and totally focused he’s been,” said Bernie, whose oldest son Mark, 21, another former Robert Smyth pupil, has just gained his economics degree at a Swedish university.

David’s dad Julian, a lecturer in nursing at Leicester’s De Montford University, said: “We couldn’t be prouder of David.

“It takes your breath away to look at what he’s achieved.

“Mark has just attained his degree in Sweden and David will soon be following in his footsteps at Bath University over here and we couldn’t be happier for him.”

Saluting David, Dan Cleary, the head of Robert Smyth Academy, told the Mail outside school: “It’s truly stunning what David has achieved.

“It’s a staggering achievement.

“He’s worked so hard, battled through all of his big health challenges and he’s a lovely young man as well.

“It’s a simply incredible story – and David is a shining inspiration to all of us.”